By Annika Tomlin | March 31, 2021
In 1850, Americans started crafting the cocktails barflies know and love. Cat’s Pajamas Bistro offers a variety of craft cocktails and food choices that reflect the good ol’ days.
“We are probably the only true craft cocktail bar and restaurant in Scottsdale,” says general manager Avi Laub.
The restaurant opened Thanksgiving Day 2020 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and following the 2020 election.
“We had planned to open earlier, but with the hecticness and COVID and then with the city even getting permission to serve alcohol, they pushed us to after the election,” Laub says about the family-owned restaurant.
The restaurant’s former occupants were forced to close because the COVID-19 pandemic. Laub created an entirely new concept from the ground up. The menu includes an array craft cocktails and a full dining menu.
Laub calls it “very bistro oriented, like a brasserie.” Cat’s Pajamas Bistro exudes the easy American hospitality while maintaining the intimacy and formality.
“In a way, we are casual elegant,” he says. “We’re not a place you need to come in a suit and tie or really dressed up. You can come comfortable and casual. We do basically require shirt, shoes you know the standard stuff.”
The feline theme within the restaurant carries to the menu, including the Cheshire burger ($20) with grass-fed Angus beef, caramelized onions, marinated tomatoes, bacon, fried eggs and house steak sauce on a brioche bun from Wildflower.
“Our small plates, basically our appetizers, are designed to be shared, but they can be devoured by one person, which happens a lot,” Laub says.
“People will come in and they’ll order the bacon lollipops ($16) and then they’ll order two to three more.
“We’re almost a true craft kitchen. We try and prepare as much as we can in-house, with just a couple sauces, like our ranch and our blue cheese sauce, not made in-house, but it is high quality. Our beef is grass fed, no hormones or antibiotics. Our steak that we also use for the French dip is prime ribeye; it’s not choice or select. Even the milk they use in creams are BDSD free.”
Additional menu options include entrée-sized salads like the El Primo ($16) made with baby field greens, avocado, tomato, bacon, almond queso fresco and Cat’s white French dressing; the Cat’s BLT ($12) made with bacon, heirloom tomato, lemon-basil mustard aioli and baby field greens on a toasted artisan whole grain bread; and crispy deviled eggs ($12) created with pickled jalapeno, crispy shallot and El Lobo dipping sauce.
“My main focal point is providing high-quality ingredients to make great meals,” Laub says. “I believe our pricing is pretty fair for the portion size.”
Sandwiches and burgers come with a side of fries.
“The grilled cheese sandwich, which is a triple decker that has multiple types of cheese, comes with tomato soup so it’s an homage to childhood of when you went over to your friend’s house and your friend’s mom would make grilled cheese with tomato soup for you,” Laub said.
As a “big red meat eater,” Laub loves the steak sandwich ($24) made with prime ribeye, arugula, tomato, whole-grain horseradish dijonaise, bourbon glaze on a ciabatta roll, and the prime rib French dip ($20) featuring shaved prime rib, caramelized onions provolone, whole-grain mustard horseradish cream, au jus on toasted French bread.
While desserts like the key lime pie ($12) and brownie sundae ($13) are made from dessert company Honeymoon Suites, the Cat’s Pajamas adult snow cones ($17) are made in-house.
“Basically, we have a shaved ice machine, so we put ice in there and then it shaves it down and then we put alcohol liqueurs and syrups on there, and then we can also turn the brownie sundae into an adult brownie sundae,” Laub says.
Some of the notable craft cocktails on the menu include dark woods ($35) made with basil hayden dark rye, Knob Creek smoked maple, Sqrrl peanut butter whiskey, Liquid Alchemist spiced apple and Aztec chocolate bitters and Puss in Boots crafted with Clase Azul Plata tequila, Briottet banana liqueur, Destillare chocolate, Licor 43 and Angostura bitters.
Cocktails range from $18 to $25 and pay “true homage to craft cocktail that started in the 1850s,” according to Laub.
While indoor dining is still restricted due to COVID-19, Cat’s Pajamas allows each guest to be appropriately socially distanced. Cat’s Pajamas is available on DoorDash and Grubhub for patrons who wish to dine at home.
“We have a patio that we recently built so people can sit outside,” Laub says. “We enforce social distancing and masks. We sanitize every single table and area after they leave. Our menus are laminated, and we also have QR codes for that safety aspect especially with these trying times.”
Laub said he hopes the eatery serves as a place that people from all backgrounds feel included.
“We have a bit for everybody, and I try to make things welcoming as possible for anybody that comes in,” Laub said. “My slogan for the place is ‘come thirsty, come hungry, leave with a Cheshire smile.’”
Cat’s Pajamas Bistro
10323 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale