By: Josh Frigerio
Posted at 5:56 PM, Sep 24, 2020 Photo by: Courtesy of Verde at Cooley Station
GILBERT — The team behind Crust Simply Italian and The Ostrich, a popular cocktail bar in downtown Chandler, are bringing their concepts to Gilbert. Both Crust and The Ostrich will open locations at Verde at Cooley Station, a 23-acre commercial and residential development under construction near Recker and Williams Field roads and expected to be completed in late 2021, the developer, SB2-VB, announced earlier this week.
Michael Merendino, the owner of Crust and The Ostrich, told ABC15 that he also plans to open a breakfast restaurant there, called Morning Ritual.
"We were looking for the right community and right atmosphere and we’re really excited about taking this next step," he said.
Crust will occupy about 4,000 square feet and Morning Ritual and The Ostrich will share about 3,000 square feet, he said. All three concepts will share a 2,000-square-foot wrap-around patio.
Merendino described Morning Ritual as a "simple craft breakfast spot" with mimosas and a Bloody Mary bar. "We always want to be that really good value, really good plate in front of every guest, and we want to be the community breakfast spot," he said. In the evening, Morning Ritual will transform into The Ostrich, a premium cocktail bar and lounge. In Chandler, The Ostrich is located in the basement of the San Marcos Resort and has a dark, industrial look to it. In Gilbert, the bar will focus on the same classic cocktails, but will have an updated look. "Nothing is ever going to mimic Chandler being, ya know, a 112-year-old room and a basement bar. We’re taking the same great recipes, we’re trying to replicate some of the decor, but also we want to give this a very new fresh look and feel to it," he said. Crust, which has locations in Chandler and Scottsdale, specializes in Italian fare. Its menu features meatballs, garlic knots, salads, pizzas, calzones, pasta, and pizza. Cook & Craft, an American restaurant with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free dishes in Scottsdale, will open a second location at the Gilbert development, the developer said. They join Obon Sushi + Ramen, West Alley Barbeque, Los Primeros, Cookies & Cream and Vitality Bowls, which were previously announced. Copyright 2020 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved.