Tucked around the corner in one of the best spots in Scottsdale’s Old Town district, it’s hard to hide from the aroma of wood-fired smoke and the scents of bacon and grilling. Track it down, as we did, and you will end up at the very rustic, yet welcoming, door of Bootleggers.
I’ve heard mythical tales and legends of the burger at Bootleggers, but having had far too many burgers in my day, I wasn’t quite prepared for the dining experience I was about to have. Bustling through a flurry of beer and cocktail enthusiasts in the bar area, I was lead to the dining room for my culinary adventure to begin. The atmosphere is unique and rustic in a way that lends itself to both slightly-casual and date-night-worthy simultaneously. The accents of wood and iron accommodate the smokey scents coming from the kitchen perfectly.
Before I start on food, I have to mention my new favorite cocktail. I’m a fan of drinks that incorporate jalapeño but it’s not always an easy task. Bootleggers has absolutely nailed this one with their Mean Green. Our incredible server Marissa recommended it and I was sold the second I knew there was spice involved. And let me tell you, it was so delicious that I made my date order his own. I did not want to share this one. The ingredients are St. George Green Chili Vodka, house made spiced pineapple syrup, aperol, fresh lime, cilantro, and jalapeño. The heat is perfectly balanced by the homemade syrups; which are not sugary and tangy like processed syrups tend to taste.
Photo cred: Phoenix New Times
The Bacon Board is truly a thing of beauty. Five types of bacon, grilled noble sourdough, sweet onion jam, red pepper jam, whole grain mustard, and gherkins. This is for your bacon fans of all shapes, sizes, and palates. Everyone will have a favorite – I guarantee. Moving on to the Boot-Schetta, a refreshing take on bruschetta, but different enough not to take the name. A generous portion for 2, we were provided with 2 pieces of each of these tastes; pea pesto with smoked tomatoes, grilled peaches with goat cheese, moonshine honey, and candied pecans, and lastly the smashed avocado garnished with cucumber ribbons. The moonshine honey made the grilled peaches my favorite. I couldn’t decide if I was a bigger fan of the mysteriously fresh and delicious flavor of their goat cheese mixed with the smokey flavor of the grilled bread, or if it was just the moonshine honey that I couldn’t get enough of. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to choose.
For a main entree, we went with the Red Brick Chicken; airline chicken breast with brown butter caper sauce, blistered red potatoes, and broccoli rabe. The sauce and the addition of capers to this dish provided the perfect amount of salty, savory goodness complimented by a perfectly cooked chicken buttered to perfection. And then the burger came out. Served on a wood slab with a steak knife stabbed through the middle to keep it in place, I got excited just seeing what I was about to devour. The Bootlegger Burger was worthy of all of the stories and ravings that I had heard. It is served with Muenster cheese, whiskey onions, confit slab bacon, dijonnaise, house sauce, and on a pretzel bun. There was no lady-like way to get into this burger so I didn’t even bother. Juicy and delicious with just the right amount of cheese and generous helping of thick slices of slab bacon, I’m not sure if I took a chance to breathe in between bites. I had to make sure I ate it all and didn’t have to share this either!
Photo cred: AZ Foothills Magazine
This is a spot you don’t want to drive by. You need to go in. I would go in daily for the burger if I could. The staff is friendly and welcoming, the mixologists are serving up fun, sophisticated, fresh cocktails, the menu changes slightly with the seasons; as organically & locally conscious places should, and the menu is to-die-for. Icing on the cake? They also offer a service to SMOKE YOUR MEATS FOR YOU. No, I’m not kidding. I asked. And then asked to make sure I heard right. And then double checked to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Guess where I will be getting my turkey cooked for Thanksgiving? Bootleggers! But don’t tell my family. I want them to think I’m a culinary wizard.
Hurry on over today and check it out for yourself.