Holy Spirits Opens its Heavenly Doors

In late May, Bill Wallace quietly opened Holy Spirits in downtown Scottsdale, and his new bistro/bar is very good, indeed. The culinary and spirits gods would enjoy what he and his staff are doing.

In the old Maloney’s Tavern at 7318 E. Stetson Drive, the new space offers a variety of excellently priced and prepared food and scratch drinks intended to serve everyone from a young crowd wanting a quality pre-clubbing stop to the 60-ish group looking for a Cheers atmosphere where they can stop by, enjoy a ballgame and the casual vibe.

One regular client, an attorney, lives just a block away in one of the new complexes and enjoys stopping by after work for food and for de-stressing. “I came here first for happy hour, and I’ve been coming back to have dinner almost every night,” she says. “It’s a comfortable place to hang out, and I like it more than any other place in the area now. Everything I’ve tried on the menu I’ve liked.”

Wallace design-built the former tavern, calling for a number of changes patrons will enjoy, such as opening the patios to the street for more mingling room in the fresh air. “We brought the space into the 21st century,” he says. “We’ve added great appointments inside, too, which our guests are already commenting about.”

Highline Autos readers will remember Wallace from his ownership of Preferred Collision in the Scottsdale Airpark, Auto Bahn, also in Scottsdale, and nightclubs and restaurants including Club 411 formerly on Mill Avenue in Tempe and Café Portobello at McDowell Mountain Ranch.

His interest in food, as with cars is lifelong. “I grew up with a family who loved to cook,” he says. “So, it’s part of what I am and what I enjoy. The hours for the restaurant business are long and not 9-to-5 as with the body-shop business, but I love being here, making sure about the quality of the food and the drinks, working with staff and spending time with our guests.”

Another family member, his sister, Natascha Pfurtscheller-Warden, is a local chef and designed the menu for Holy Spirits. She worked closely with the restaurant’s head chef, Sunshine Knights.

“I wanted to create a menu that’s was fun and easy to understand. We didn’t want it to just be bar food; it needed to be casual food, elevated, something that was eclectic that you could share with your friends,” Pfurtscheller-Warden says. A graduate of Scottsdale Culinary Institute, she’s done retail dining, corporate dining, country clubs and consults now as well.

Signature dishes? “That’s a tough one. They are all my dishes, so picking just one is difficult.” Still, she’s very partial to the brown-butter grilled Salmon ($8) and the Fried Artichokes ($9).

Also special, based on a recent visit, is the Shrimp Po Boy: Creole-spice shrimp fried with a spicy remoulade and served on a bun ($9); the Beef Skewers: grilled tenderloin served with sherry dipping sauce ($9); and the Garlic Shrimp, sautéed with garlic and sherry ($11).

All drinks are made from scratch, no mixes, such as the signature Monster Bloody Mary, and Bill’s love for and knowledge of wines has produced an excellent wine list with quality varietals and blends you won’t find at the stores.

“Restaurants are a labor of love,” Wallace says. “You have to be passionate about what you’re doing if you want it to be successful, and, for sure, we want to take Holy Spirits to the highest level we can.”

Holy Spirits is open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. through midnight, Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. “We keep our kitchen open all week until 11:30 at night, so Holy Spirits is a great stop for late-night bites,” Wallace says.

Holy Spirits (480) 945-1323 or ww.holyspiritsscottsdale.com