How does a cocktail sound the next time you finish working out?
For members of the Valley of the Sun JCC (The J), that’s now an option, as is a full sit-down dinner open to the general public at milk + honey Espresso Bar & Eatery, located inside The J.
Eatery owner Dany Marciano, a restaurateur who was born in Morocco, said “the dinner service is completely different than what we are doing during the day.”
For dinner, milk + honey focuses on Italian appetizers, pastas, pizza and homemade desserts.
“I wanted to bring something new to the Valley,” he said. “We have very few [kosher restaurants] and most of them are meat, and I think this a big change for the kosher community. At the same time, it brings an addition to the members and the guests of the JCC.”
The eatery is under the supervision of the Greater Phoenix VAAD Hakashruth.
The eatery added wine, cocktails, white tablecloths, candles and waitstaff to provide guests the full dining experience. Marciano said, “the one-year anniversary [of milk + honey] was the right time to start the dinner service.”
The eatery also offers take-out service and delivery via Door Dash and Postmates.
In the short time the dinner service has been open for business, there has been a good turnout thanks to all the snowbirds that flock to Arizona for the warmer weather. As of right now, the dinner service is expected to be offered only part of the year. Marciano believes that business will start to slow down during the summer as people leave the Valley for cooler climes.
“It’s something that I will have to think about if I want to continue serving during that time or just start back up after the High Holidays are over,” he said.
The J’s CEO, Jay Jacobs, said, “From a staffing standpoint, our relationship with Dany and his cafe is great and his food
Jacobs also discussed the concept of having milk + honey inside The J.
“He gets a nice amount of walk-in traffic off the street from people who are either looking for really great food, or kosher food and there are not that many kosher restaurants in town,” Jacobs said. “Offering dinner is a nice add-on for the center. It becomes another service for our members who might want to grab a plate of pasta and a beer after their workout.”
As a kosher establishment, the most difficult part is trying to find kosher cocktails, though milk + honey does offer a medium-range wine. Marciano said he is working on bringing in “more high-end Italian wines” to milk + honey. The eatery also offers beer, with some local, but mainly imported brews.
“I think our signature cocktail will be the grapefruit martini,” Marciano said. “We also have an apple-chocolate martini, a Russian mule and, of course, the classic margarita.” JN