Bars Get More Relief, Clever Koi Gilbert and The Churchill Are Back, and More Food and Drink News

This week in Phoenix food and drink news: The Arizona Small Business Rent and Mortgage Relief Grant is back, and so are The Churchill and Clever Koi in downtown Gilbert. In addition, a local tequila company and a burger joint are giving back to the community. Let’s roll.

The Rent and Mortgage Relief Grant Is Back for Bars

The Arizona Small Business Rent and Mortgage Relief Grant began accepting applications on August 20 from businesses affected by Executive Order 2020-43. The grant is a collaboration between the Governor’s Office and the Local First Arizona Foundation to distribute $10 million in aid. More than $8.5 million in rent relief has been issued to roughly 650 Arizona businesses — including FilmBar and Boycott Bar — so far. Now, the grant is back in an effort to distribute the remaining $1.5 million. As of yesterday, bars with a series 6 or 7 liquor licenses (as well as gyms, fitness centers and studios, water parks, tubing operators, and movie theaters) may apply. For more information, see the LFA website.

Clever Koi Gilbert is back open.EXPAND

Clever Koi Gilbert is back open.

Lauren Cusimano

Clever Koi in Gilbert Is Now Reopen

Clever Koi’s location in Gilbert’s Heritage District closed after a kitchen fire on August 21, 2019. At the time, Born & Raised Hospitality said the eatery likely wouldn’t reopen for three to six months. Clever Koi’s second location is reopening today after eight months — not bad considering a worldwide pandemic has happened since then. This weekend, October 9 to 11, guests can take advantage of the It Takes Two deal — two entrees and four cocktails for $55 — plus free delivery for online orders through the restaurant’s website only.

We’ve missed you, Fuck Nazis cocktail from So Far, So Good.EXPAND

We’ve missed you, Fuck Nazis cocktail from So Far, So Good.

Lauren Cusimano

The Churchill Is Also All the Way Back

As of 4 p.m. today The Churchill food hall is reopening — meaning the open-air dining area is back at 50 percent capacity. Freak Brothers Pizza, Foxy Fruit Acai Bowls & Smoothie, and Sauvage Bottle Shop have been holding down the fort in recent months, but all 10 businesses will now be up and running. That includes Provecho Comida de mi Tierra, The Brill Line Beer & Spirits, and So Far, So Good (we’ve missed you, Fuck Nazis cocktail). This lineup also includes a new kid, called Stoop Kid, in the former Commander Hamburger space. It’s a New York-style bagel and coffee shop operated by Phoenix restaurateur and barista Steven McMillen.

Winners also get a chance to cook with chef Tommy D'Ambrosio.

Winners also get a chance to cook with chef Tommy D’Ambrosio.

Aioli Gourmet Burgers

Aioli Contest Benefits Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Centers

Culinarily gifted (or bored) teens have till October 16 to submit a burger or shake (or both) recipe to Aioli Gourmet Burgers. Those 12 to 20 years old may email recipes to for a chance to win gift cards, a cooking session with chef Tommy D’Ambrosio, and a spot on the menu (meaning your winning burger or shake) during the month of November. The top three recipes with be announced by October 19, followed by online public voting from October 20 to 28, followed by the gold, silver, and bronze announcements by October 29. In addition, 10 percent of sales from the winning burger and shake will go to Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Centers. For more information, see the Aioli website.

Señor Rio CEO and co-founder Debbie Medina Gach.EXPAND

Señor Rio CEO and co-founder Debbie Medina Gach.

Señor Rio

Señor Rio Tequila Pulls in Some Major Awards

The locally and female-owned Señor Rio tequila won big at the 2020 SIP Awards, competing against 980 other beverage brands under the scrutiny of 482 judges (who were sent tasting kits and reviewing from home). The Blanco won a silver medal, the Reposado and Añejo won gold medals, and the Extra Añejo won a double gold medal as well as the Innovation Award. “Our award-winning tequila is about friendship, family, and creating lasting memories,” says CEO and co-founder Debbie Medina Gach in a press release. So true. What’s more, from now till the end of 2020, $1 per bottle of Senor Rio tequila sold will go toward Phoenix’s St. Mary’s Food Bank.

See what Valley restaurants are offering takeout, delivery, and dine-in services with our Phoenix Restaurant Directory.