SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.--The trio that started the wildly successful chain of Oregano's "Pizza Bistros" in the Phoenix area over the past decade had it made. But they were restless, as restaurant entrepreneurs tend to be, so they opened this place, Rehab Burger Therapy, maybe three months ago as an antidote to the frantic pace of their hyper pizzerias.
Subtlety is not their point. At Oregano's, the servers wear t-shirts that read "Tastes Like Garlic" and "Legalize Marinara." At RBT, they read "Let's Get Addicted."
Just off the main drag in Scottsdale's Old Town, the RBT patio is shrouded in mist on a warm summer night; the door is guarded by an impossibly skinny teenage hostess. (Every restaurant worth its tequila in these parts has an underage hostess.) "I could seat you at the bar, but you'd be between two guys," she says, with a wink. The over-21 waitress pulls up a chair, introduces herself, then makes sure she knows your name as well.
Flatscreens surround the room: a couple of aquarium scenes (Muzak for the eyes), a surfer-dude channel, and, this being Arizona, a series of commercials for wheelchairs. Bikes and boards hang from the ceiling. The clientele is youthful and definitely laid-back. (Ah, those wasted wheelchair eyeballs!) The food (delivered by the bartender) falls squarely in the camp of Scottsdale burger-bars, albeit prepared with welcome precision.
Much to enjoy here, even when the air-con compressor is feeling a bit overloaded. Dialed in? Tuned out? Doesn't matter, Jake, it's Arizona.