A Place for Diners to Snack, Chat and Drink, Morning, Noon or Night
If you’re looking for Ryan Watson, you should start at Meridiem Kitchen & Lounge, one of Chandler’s newest restaurants. Watson might be busing tables or whipping something up in the kitchen next to Chef Jeramie Lopo. Even though he’s the owner and general manager, he’s happy to do what needs to be done.
“Meridiem is an all-day destination. I want guests to always feel at home while they’re here,” Watson says. “Making my guests happy is what is most satisfying for me, and I think I’m in the right industry for that.”
Watson’s been in the restaurant business for more than 17 years.
“Opening Meridiem was taking the next leap in life,” he says.
A.M. & P.M.
The restaurant’s name came from the Latin terms post meridiem and ante meridiem, more commonly recognized as a.m. and p.m. Watson chose this theme because they have two distinct menus to offer; the ante menu in the morning, and the post menu for afternoon and evening diners.
Appropriately, there are two sides to Meridiem. Before noon guests are served in a 1,500-square-foot dining room, which can also be rented for parties and presentations. Lunch and dinner is served in a 2,500-square-foot lounge. They also have two bars and a covered patio.
Watson teamed up with Nicole Smith Interiors to create the unique, upbeat vibe.
“The guys really had a good feeling about where they wanted to take this place; it was a great collaboration,” says Nicole Smith, Meridiem’s designer. “It’s eclectic for sure, but reserved enough so everyone is comfortable in the space.”
Smith calls the design “industrial chic.” The wallpaper, fabrics and tiles are in gray, blues and creamy yellow. Inspiration for the design flared from the circular pattern on the bar tiles, spurring a plethora of circular motion throughout the room. Even the eye-catching chandelier above the bar has crystal orbs.
“The chandelier has mood lighting that changes colors and can dim or get brighter. It has all this movement and you can pick up on different colors as you walk around it. It lends itself well to the atmosphere,” says Smith.
When asked about her favorite design element in the restaurant, Smith was conflicted.
“It’s hard to pick one, but I’m obsessed with the women’s bathroom and all the tiles and mirrors. I’m such a girly girl and I love it,” she says.
Snack ‘n’ Chat
Watson is full of ideas to engage friends and family around the table. The restaurant has a unique twist on family dining with their Snack ‘n’ Chat plates, which include specialty items meant to be shared.
The ante Snack ‘n’ Chat offerings bring a lounge atmosphere to breakfast and includes breakfast nachos topped with queso, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, sour cream and chives. Or take your pick from three different breakfast sliders served on brioche buns.
More traditional breakfast options include Pop’s Griddle Cakes, but they easily become not so traditional when you cover them with sugar-glazed apples and homemade cinnamon whipped cream or Nutella with banana slices. Prefer something savory? Try the fried chicken sandwich or go all in with the jumbo biscuits and sausage gravy.
“I wanted this to be a place for everyone,” says Watson. “The best experiences can happen at any time of the day, a.m. to p.m.”
Half of the post menu are Snack ‘n’ Chat items such as Pop’s Meatballs, which are topped with mozzarella and served with crostini, and the crab spinach artichoke dip that’s made in-house and served with stone-fired mini naan. There’s also a selection of sweet or savory toppings on toast, such as heirloom tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, basil and a balsamic reduction; or mascarpone, prosciutto, fig jam and sliced peaches. Flip the post menu over and you can choose from salads, sandwiches and entrees like grilled ribeye, salmon with citrus beurre blanc sauce or penne and shrimp tossed in a Tito’s vodka sauce.
“I wanted to accommodate everyone—from a family enjoying a great breakfast to a group of friends getting together after work for drinks and a bite to eat,” Watson says.
It’s clear that his top priority is to please. Watson is not just inviting people into his restaurant; he’s inviting them into his personal lounge.
Meridiem Kitchen & Lounge
1245 S. Price Rd., Ste. 1
Chandler, AZ 85286