With “Local” being the buzzword in the dining industry, Craft 64 in Downtown Chandler is not just marketing lip service. The wood-fired restaurant and bar, which is known for its craft pizza and beer, specializes in scratch, organic fare and is committed to making sure its supply footprint stays in the neighborhood.
All the produce and vegetables at Craft 64 are harvested from McClendon Select, the flour used in the pizza dough is from Hayden Mills, most of the beer featured is brewed in Arizona, and the extra virgin oil hails from Queen Creek Olive Mill.
“We have a love of local,” explains James Swann, one of the four co-owners of Craft 64, which opened in Chandler three years ago on Buffalo Street. “We source everything we possibly can locally. We don’t own a freezer, we don’t own a microwave. And everything comes in day by day from local vendors, and is prepared in our kitchen fresh that day or the day before, depending on what it is. And of course, if we source things that aren’t actually made in Arizona, they’re coming from a locally-owned company in Arizona.”
The ingredients might be community-driven, but the restaurant’s centerpiece—a Mugnaini wood-burning pizza oven—is direct from Tuscany, Italy. The Rolls Royce of pizza ovens allows Craft 64 to create artisanal pizzas that are a bit different from its competitors.
“We run our ovens at a much lower temperature. Our ovens usually sit at about 650 to 700 degrees and the pizzas tend to come out with a little more char, a little more than what you see with the everyday classic, which is what we believe separates us from the others,” says Swann.
And at Craft 64, it’s not just about creating the perfect pie—it’s about using its novelty oven to cook a range of dishes, including root vegetables, salmon, mac-n-cheese and baked chicken options.
“We prefer to think of ourselves a little differently than a pizza joint. \. We really prefer to think of ourselves as a wood-fired restaurant,” says Swann. “If you check our menu, you’ll see that we have steak and specialty dishes on a regular basis just to highlight the different things that can cook in a wood-fired oven alongside the pizza.”
The eatery takes its beverage program just as seriously as its cooking methods, which is developed to accentuate the flavors of the wood-fired menu. Craft 64 creates and brews its own beers in partnership with SunUp Brewing Company featuring staples and seasonal selections such as Smooove Hoperator IPA, Frolic Pale Ale, Belgian Bombshell, and Mango Shandy. It also has a robust global wine list including its own in-house varietal 64 Pinot Noir made in Willamette, Oregon. Plus, the restaurant offers premium spirits, and signature craft and specialty cocktails.
The result is a dining experience that entices your senses with distinct food and beverages, superior customer service and a chill environment the minute you walk through the door, according to Swann.
“The first thing that hits you is the aroma. And you’re going to [be greeted with] friendly smile and be presented with items and options that are made in-house and sourced locally. There’s a lot of care and attention given to those facts,” says Swann. “In addition, we do a little bit of live music on the weekends but it’s all acoustics. It’s just a nice, comfortable atmosphere to enjoy.”
Map: 68 W. Buffalo St., Chandler, AZ 85225 or (480) 247-3002