Locally owned restaurants are no stranger to Tempe, Arizona. With hundreds of restaurants in the area, it can be difficult to pick one.
Word of Mouth Grill, located on Elliot Road and McClintock Drive is a family-owned and operated barbeque restaurant. Starting up as a catering business, after five years Demetrius and Jacque decided to expand further and open up a sit-down restaurant.
But what can spark an idea like opening up a restaurant with your family? For Demetrius Makel and Jacque Gomez-Makel, it all started with what they loved, which was cooking.
“We just loved to cook and always had friends over, then it just kind of grew,” Jacque Gomez-Makel, an owner of Word of Mouth Grill said.
The COVID-19 pandemic did not slow them down either. Showing movies outside the restaurant to bring in families and continuing their to-go order process, they made it work.
“This was mostly my husband's dream and passion. He always sees way into the future so he kinda knew he had to think of a skill he had to open his own business. He knew as a whole that if you own your own business, you’re better off. He’s been cooking since he was 15,” Jaqcue Gomez-Makel said.
Up the road, a little bit from Word of Mouth Grill is Crust Brothers. Another family-owned restaurant is located on Baseline Road and McClintock Drive.
Crust Brothers is a pizza, salad, and sandwich restaurant that leans heavily into family. Opening their first restaurant in Scottsdale in December of 2019, they decided early this year to expand and add a location in Tempe.
Mark and his brother Eddie wanted to create something for families. They wanted their restaurant to feel like home for some people or remind them of a memory from their childhood just like their favorite pizzerias did while growing up.
“This wasn’t a lifelong goal. Probably more of a goal once we got it going. I really just wanted to see if I could do it. It was more of a lifelong goal to see if I could be successful in a business from the ground up,” Mark Miller, an owner of Crust Brothers said.
Mark said he wouldn’t change anything about this expansion except maybe the location, but he is happy with how it has been going.
“You got to grow. You got to build number two if you want to build number ten,” Mark Miller said.
The Hudson, a neighborhood eatery and bar near the Arizona State University campus on Apache Boulevard was started by two friends Kyle and Chris.
The Hudson, originally a building made for real estate offices had its interior demo done in 2019 in hopes of opening a new restaurant and bar.
“I would say 70% of our business is local, supported by The Hudson over here. Hence the name, ” Chris Hanna, an owner of The Hudson said.
Two family friends from when they were young, decided to open up this restaurant together. Both friends being in the retail space and in the liquor business before.
“When we decided to take over this spot, we originally just wanted to do a beer and wine bar. Then it morphed into wanting to carry spirits and then we built out the kitchen,” Hanna said.
While approaching three years of business at The Hudson, the owners are excited to see what's to come.
Locally owned businesses are always a great way to see how the city tends to interact with itself. Keeping many restaurants pushing forward and expanding, it seems like the community is doing its job.