One of the Valley's most-renowned chefs is trading a high-end mall location for a mansion — the Wrigley Mansion.
“Seems like every 10 years we leave. It’s like marriages,” said Christopher Gross, the James Beard Award-winning chef who has run Christopher’s and Crush Lounge from Biltmore Fashion Park for the past decade.
Gross is rapidly running out of lease at 24th Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix, just south of the Wrigley Mansion in the same affluent ZIP code.
Having worked over the past few years with Jamie Hormel, owner of the Wrigley Mansion, to update the offerings at the hilltop landmark, Gross has a new home waiting in the wings.
The Christopher’s crew already is at work in the Wrigley Mansion, where Gross will take over operations of Geordie’s, the steakhouse that opened at the mansion in 2015. The staged move will allow for a seamless transition when Gross’ revamped version of Geordie’s launches at the mansion on Feb. 1, the day after his last service at the Biltmore.
French, modern and seasonal
Gross’ new restaurant — the precise name is still a work in progress — will be familiar to fans of the original, mixing selections from the old location with new creations that are in keeping with the contemporary French theme.
“We’ll have the ABC foie, the pepper soup, the chocolate mousse. Maybe a few brains,” Gross says, referring to a recent Halloween special of veal brains with banyuls vinegar.
Christopher's and Crush Lounge also is known for its signature dessert, the chocolate mousse tower. A chocolate mousse center is enveloped in a cylinder of white chocolate with a dark chocolate lattice over it and an espresso sauce finish. (Photo: Awe Collective PR)
While it will resemble Christopher’s at the Biltmore, the new Geordie’s also will have an increased focus on seasonality.
But Gross and Hormel have an even more drastic departure in store for late 2018.
Up next: Christopher’s at The Wrigley
Over the next year, the Wrigley Mansion will undergo renovations to introduce elements that will serve as the foundation for a second restaurant that offers Gross’ cuisine in a completely different format.
Christopher’s at The Wrigley, targeted for a late 2018 opening, will be a small, 26-seat restaurant where the kitchen staff will double as servers, interacting directly with guests. While the structure of the menu is yet to be determined, it will be a markedly chef-driven, upscale experience, Gross said.
(Photo: John Samora/The Republic)
To prepare the space for Christopher’s at the Wrigley, he and Hormel are installing a Hestan range and cooking suite, like those found at top restaurants in the country, including The French Laundry and Alinea. They also are adding a tiered garden to one of the mansion’s patio spaces to grow fresh herbs and vegetables.
In addition, Gross will expand the menu at Jamie’s Wine Bar, which he helped open at the mansion in 2016. Together, the three elements will create a complete suite of offerings at the Wrigley Mansion, all under Gross' direction. He couldn't be more excited.
“The kitchen, the restaurant, they’re going to look like they belong in a mansion.”
(Photo: John Samora/The Republic)
Christopher’s and Crush Lounge
Where: 2502 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix.
Details: 602-522-2344, christophersaz.com.
Where: 2501 E. Telawa Trail, Phoenix.
Details: 602-955-4079, wrigleymansion.com.
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