Matt Pool built his reputation as a chef with Matt’s Big Breakfast, an epic breakfast spot that he owns with wife Erenia in downtown Phoenix. However, Pool wasn’t satisfied with one great concept, so he opened a gastropub called The Roosevelt in December 2006, featuring craft beer, comfort food and a historic setting.
The Roosevelt resides along Roosevelt Row, a low-slung strip of cafes, boutiques and galleries. The tavern occupies the Farish House, a cottage from 1900 that originally belonged to Phoenix City Manager William Addison Farish. The completely unpretentious multi-room venue most recently housed an architect’s office. The historic home features wood floors, a five-seat bar, a dozen taps and a glass-fronted beer cooler. A smaller structure out back now serves as the kitchen, and servers shuttle food to beer-fueled patrons by taking a wooden boardwalk.
Beer is a clear strength at The Roosevelt, featuring an extensive list of $5 draught beers, bottles and cans that hover around $4 and “Big Bottles” that top out at $12. Most of the breweries were recognizable, including Avery, Lagunitas, Rogue and The Lost Abbey. Locally, Tempe’s Four Peaks Brewing Co. reigns supreme. The Roosevelt House Beer ($5) comes from Four Peaks and proved to be a hoppy, light-bodied and golden-hued beer.
The Roosevelt isn’t a place to eat a full meal, though you will find full-flavored snacks crafted from high-quality versions of kitschy ingredients like bologna and “franks.” We started with an oozing fontina and Gruyere grilled cheese sandwich ($8) on a pressed Pullman loaf, served with creamy (and garlicky) San Marzano tomato soup.
Ham and Eggs ($6) consisted of standard but effective paprika-dusted deviled eggs. The plate also held the Fruit Roll Up equivalent of honey baked ham, which was grocery store quality and completely unspectacular.
The Roosevelt is hardly redefining the gastropub, and it’s certainly no match for Matt’s Big Breakfast, but a convivial atmosphere, better than average bar snacks and high value beers are always appreciated.