What started as a single fine dining restaurant has grown into the largest privately held catering & hospitality service provider in the Southwest, serving clients locally, regionally and nationally.
25 Years of Celebration
“Cuz…we should open our own restaurant!” And that’s what Chef Michael and Brandon - along with original partner Harlan Berman - did with Michael’s at the Citadel. Celebrating our grand opening September 24th, Michael’s at the Citadel raised the bar for fine dining in Scottsdale. Our 10-year run at the corner of Pinnacle Peak & Pima was the start of our treasured culinary legacy.
The restaurant was a hit, and patrons wanted Michael’s at home. After a lot of “nos,” we finally said “yes” and became caterers. Within 2 years, we officially launched Michael’s Catering, out of our second restaurant, Bistro America at 7th Street & Camelback. (We won’t talk about our “warehouse” which really was some underground racquetball courts accessed via skinny stairs and even skinnier doorways…).
What today is our biggest annual event started with catering for one tent - Xerox in Corporate Village. “How are we gonna do this?” someone asked. “Book it and we’ll figure it out!”, was the answer. After 22+ amazing years and 2+ million hospitality guests, we finally figured (most of) it out! It has been our honor to play a part in the “greatest show on grass” and The Thunderbirds’ unwavering support of our shared community.
WE’RE ON FIRE(S)
We needed more to do over the summer. One of our restaurant team members knew some people doing some interesting work. How about feeding wildland fire personnel battling blazes in remote areas all over the western US? Sounds great! After spending some time learning the business, we launched Houston’s Too under our first contract with the U.S. Forest Service. From 1 unit Houston’s Too unit then to 3 Ridgeline units today, our “Fire Teams” have been the best in the business!
What happens when restaurant patrons love your food so much that they ask you to manage their campus cafeterias? You do it! Suddenly Michael’s Catering was in the business dining game feeding students and staff at Brophy College Prep in Phoenix and employees at DHL in Scottsdale. Over the years we added GoDaddy, Penske, SRP, APS, Insight, ZipRecruiter, Carvana, Nikola, Banner Health and more to our client roster, feeding over 12,000 people per week.
One of the most exciting auto-themed spectacles in the world, Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction raised the bar (and hammer!) for live event experiences in Scottsdale. M Culinary was kindly invited to join the party at this one-of-a-kind event,feeding the Barrett-Jackson team and their VIPs, hopeful consignors and competitive bidders, corporate sponsors, and the always entertaining auctioneers.
What started as a single fine-dining restaurant had become a full-service caterer, traveling roadshow, wilderness chuckwagon, and cafeteria innovator. We needed a bigger name for our broadened scope. Introducing M Culinary Concepts, a family of hospitality brands including M Catering by Michael’s, M Restaurants, and Main Course Innovative Business Dining.
Our longtime client and event partner invited us to cater the TrackTown: The U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials. Off to Eugene, Oregon we went. The University of Oregon’s Hayward Field was our home for two weeks, feeding over 150,000 fans, sponsors, partners, and officials. The country’s finest athletes earned their place on our Olympic team, and we earned our place on TrackTown’s team for years to come.
After closing Michael’s at the Citadel in 2007 and surviving the crash of 2008, we got back to our restaurant roots. We opened Heirloom at DC Ranch in January, bringing Chef Michael back to the north Scottsdale fine dining scene. Then in November, we headed south to open Mid City Kitchen, our take on a counter-service restaurant. Midtown Phoenix workers got a taste of M Culinary’s “the food comes first” philosophy in a new setting.
The leaders of Cambria Hotels, a division of Choice Hotels, needed help with their existing F+B program. Chef Michael and team got to work immediately, designing an entirely new program for their restaurants, bars, and in-room dining. Cambria has implemented our menu, ordering and training programs ever since, and we have helped them open over 40 hotels throughout the US.
When the right opportunity knocks, we answer the door! The owners of the Valley’s top corporate delivery catering company wanted to step back, and they trusted M Culinary to take on and grow their business, preserving their hard-earned legacy. Nibblers Catering became part of our world, filling a niche perfectly for our seemingly ever-expanding roster of services.
The start of the year brought the start of a new relationship with the City of Scottsdale - M Culinary won the exclusive F+B contract for 386-acre WestWorld and the new Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center. Our concessions concepts and catering services have been delighting hundreds of thousands of annual visitors ever since.
CFP AND ESPN
Already affiliated with BCS and then College Football Playoff and CFP Champ Game, M Culinary catered ESPN’s 2015 Super Bowl Party at WestWorld. Having surpassed our clients’ expectations, M Culinary was invited in 2016 to cater both the CFP Tailgate and ESPN’s Party at the Playoff, and we’ve been traveling with ESPN all over the country ever since!
Our friends at C3 Presents - part of Live Nation - had this great idea for a Spring Training-themed music festival. Welcome to the Valley Innings Festival, a weekend multi-genre concert jam-packed with headliners and rising stars, baseball legends and activations, and of course great F+B from M Culinary. We’ve scored home runs with our VIP and backstage catering, food truck treats, and top-notch bar services.
We’re in the business of feeding people where they gather. But on March 9th everything changed. People couldn’t gather…anywhere! Over the next 2 weeks, our entire industry ground to a halt. We reacted swiftly, adjusted as needed, and hustled every day. We looked inward to discover the company, the brand, the people we wanted to be on the other side, in the “new normal.” We focused on helping our community through food and service. And we made it. Together.
THE ROAD AHEAD
From zero to Ludicrous Speed! The live events industry came roaring back, unleashing pent-up demand after almost 2 years of pandemic pain. Business Dining began to recover slowly but steadily as clients planned return-to-workplace schedules. We resumed in-person consulting, and even added a new client in Idaho. We were back in action, just in time for M Culinary to celebrate 25 years in business! After looking inward to find our best selves, we looked onward to chart our course for the next 25 years!
M Culinary Concepts team members are fun-loving, selfless patriots sharing an obsessive commitment to excellence, each other and our community. It's amazing what we can accomplish together.Meet Our Team