Trends in restaurant branding are always changing and seldom boring. Two current ones include associating a business with bicycling and using the German word “haus” to describe a building. Combining the two, Pedal Haus started as a brewery and restaurant in 2015 in the big “haus” of the Centerpoint development in downtown Tempe, an area known for its widespread use of bicycles. Since then, it has expanded to multiple locations, with the latest to open being in the Monorchid building on Roosevelt Row at the north end of downtown Phoenix.
Pedal Haus is associated with Julian Wright, a bar owner and restaurateur who has opened (and sometimes closed or sold) numerous places along Mill Avenue over the past two decades. While most have been single-location standalone establishments, Pedal Haus seems clearly designed to serve as the foundation of a local chain. From its production brewery in Tempe, Pedal Haus can supply its line of craft beer to other locations as they open while also replicating the core of its pub food menu with adjustments as needed depending on the specific settings.
The original Pedal Haus is about four blocks south of the Mill Avenue / Third Street light rail station and along the route of the Tempe Streetcar, which is scheduled to open in 2022. True to the restaurant’s theme, there are bike racks right outside the entrance, along with just about everywhere else within Centerpoint. The newer location in Phoenix is found down an alley on the side of Monorchid, three blocks east of the Roosevelt/Central light rail station. Bike racks are not as plentiful here as in Tempe, but one is found outside the apartment building next door.
In both locations, there’s an open feel due to extensive patios, indoor/outdoor bars, and high ceilings. In Tempe, the extra space is necessary for brewing. In Phoenix, it’s more about using the room at the back of Monorchid to create an airy atmosphere. Currently, that ambience is still a work in progress with the restaurant being open only in the evening while construction continues during daylight hours on a second floor patio. The same is true in terms of the menus. Pending completion, what’s offered in Phoenix is a subset of what the Tempe kitchen produces.
The Pedal Haus beer lineup is front and center at the bar, beginning with longstanding favorites like Desert Classic, a crisp, dry, and satisfying pale ale, and Biere Blanche, a traditional wheat beer in the Belgian style with hints of orange peel and coriander adding notes of flavor. White Rabbit is a hazy IPA with hops at the forefront and a slightly higher alcohol content while a Belgian-style tripel is among the most intense brews offered. A lighter alternative is the Day Drinker lager, and seasonal brews include sours and a wintery peppermint chocolate porter.
The food at both locations leans into pub traditions, sometimes with a little flair, but typically within a sports bar menu comfort zone. The Bavarian pretzel is hefty but airy and not not too heavy. It comes with the usual mustard and some butter with beer cheese available for a couple of dollars more. The Mediterranean board is also enormous and can easily be shared by two or more people. Smoky baba ganoush and lemony hummus are presented as dips for slabs of flatbread, along with cucumbers, radishes, carrots, roasted cauliflower, olives, and mild peppers.
Sandwiches and burgers include a specimen of the ubiquitous Nashville hot chicken sandwich with a solid shatter on the batter. The heat seems to come more from the sauce than the coating, though. A green chile burger has spicy dimensions from Hatch chiles, paprika aioli, jalapeño cheese, and shisito peppers. The mushroom Swiss burger is defined more by its umami from fungi sauteed in red wine and caramelized onions. All sandwiches come with fries or coleslaw with an optional and not terribly noticeable upgrade to garlic truffle fries available.
Standout entrees include the fish and chips with two (upgradeable to three) slabs of cod with a relatively light tempura batter and fries. In this case, some slaw seems a worthwhile addition. Seasonal entrees that emerge during the winter months might include a chicken pot pie or a ground beef shepherd’s pie. Lighter options with a more summer-like feel include the Thai peanut shrimp salad on a bed of soba noodles and the smoked chicken and kale salad with pulled poultry over a mix of cruciferous greens with feta cheese and marcona almonds.
Currently, only the Tempe location serves Pedal Haus’ pizza menu, but the pies are reportedly on their way to Phoenix as everything falls into place at that location. The surprisingly strong pizza here is almost Neapolitan in style with a charred crust and a soft, thin center. The white truffle mushroom pizza is a pie that derives its strongest flavors from roasted creminis and leeks in the absence of tomato sauce. Other pies do feature crushed tomatoes in configurations as simple as a classic margherita or as complex as prosciutto, goat cheese, and arugula.
For dessert, the campfire s’mores cookie seems out of proportion with little cookie and a lot of vanilla ice cream and marshmallow in a soupy combination. The seasonal cheesecake flavors such as mango or berry are more consistently successful. With three existing locations, two of them near light rail, Pedal Haus is not done yet. Another rail-accessible location is planned for a prime site in downtown Mesa. The result will be multiple “hauses” throughout the metropolitan area for customers to reach by pedaling a bike, riding a train, or any other way they choose.
214 E. Roosevelt St. Suite 4, Phoenix AZ 85004
730 S. Mill Ave. #102, Tempe AZ 85281
Mill Avenue / Third Street Station