Chandler’s secret sandwiches 6

GRAZ Kitchen Fresh brings local ingredients to create simple, flavorful dishes

Life lessons brought GRAZ Kitchen Fresh owner and chef, Marcus Gonzales, to where he is today. The fire in him began to fuel as he grew up, while watching his Nana cook from scratch in the kitchen every day. This continued during his time in the Marine Corps and later as an intern in a Scottsdale restaurant. These experiences are where Gonzales learned the techniques and honed in on the skills that bring a distinct flair to his own kitchen, at Chandler’s best kept secret sandwich shop.

“I wanted this concept to be simple, fresh and from the heart,” says a humble Gonzales as he looked on to his team working meticulously behind the counter.

Menu inspiration

As you read the menu at GRAZ, bits and pieces of his story come to life. Take for instance the Zues on Fire (and yes, that is how they spell it at GRAZ). Gonzales’ father-in-law is from Greece and has had a strong influence on his life. When eating the grilled cheese sandwich you can imagine this person that he admires. Biting into the crunchy sourdough, you immediately taste a culmination of Mediteranean flavors. The red onion, kale and cabbage slaw and red wine vinaigrette all bring a spicy and tangy flavor to the forefront. This is evened out with a zesty Greek feta spread and crisp cucumber. Between these flavors is a generous amount of  sliced chicken. To finish the sandwich, a layer of Havarti is added and is pressed to lock in the flavor. The same goes for “The Earl” and the “Mr. English” sandwiches; all influenced from different people in Gonzales’ life.

“My concept came to me overnight. I wanted a menu of things that I liked to eat and what I thought [the residents of] Chandler would enjoy eating. The items come from inspiration during life’s journey, so the menu is continuously changing,” Gonzales says.

Aside from a hearty lunch you can enjoy at GRAZ, let’s not forget the most important meal of the day, as there are also plenty of menu options for breakfast. If you prefer breakfast on the light side, there are daily pastries (even the occasional cruffin), fresh juice blends and coffee options from Chandler shop, Peixoto Coffee. If a sandwich is in order, you have to try the new Morning Harvest. When you grab the sandwich’s pillowy bread to take the first bite, you already know your morning is made. Fresh spinach, tomatoes, soft eggs and melted Havarti are found inside the Jonathan Robins Bakery brioche bun. Adding a depth of flavor is an herb aioli, goat cheese spread and GRAZ’s own line of Desert Blossom honey.

Local ingredients

The GRAZ raw and unfiltered honey came about through a partnership with local beekeeper, Crocket Honey Co. This honey can be found in several items on the menu, including a staple side item, the Kale Slaw. If you want a side with your sandwich or a light afternoon snack, the Kale Slaw is highly recommended. While a vinegar-based slaw, the flavor is toned down with the addition of the GRAZ honey. The honey and vinegar dressing coat the chopped kale and cabbage. Mixed with Parmesean, green onions and feta cheese, there is a faint bite to the honey slaw that has you go back for more.

Along with local honey, bread and coffee, Gonzales has partnered with local farmers Harvest 480 and Rhiba Farms to provide fresh produce for menu items. All spreads, dressings, and pesto are also made in house.

GRAZ has perfected the sandwich game, but keep a look out for fresh cookies being made daily including a Garbage cookie with chocolate chunks, crunchy pretzels and salty potato chips. All sandwiches can be made into a wrap, and several salad options are also available.

GRAZ has a seating area in the restaurant for both breakfast and lunch, while also providing call ahead orders and curbside pickup. Gonzales and his team have the ability to host private dinners in their restaurant or on-site catering. You can find them on the corner of Arizona Ave. and Pecos Rd. They are open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.