A Family Atmosphere

Consistency is the key to Brisam’s success

By Eric Newman

Brisam’s Grill, Bar and Patio has become a staple in Cave Creek for creative dishes and drinks, and a great atmosphere.

Having recently celebrated its 13th anniversary under owner Steve Buchanan, Brisam’s regularly feeds the Cactus Shadows football team before games and has a steady flow of guests. It’s hard not to believe there’s another 13 years or more in store.

Buchanan is well versed in the restaurant industry. He managed Bottom Restaurant and Brewery around the nation in the 1990s and early 2000s. His travels brought him to Phoenix, and eventually just down the street in Cave Creek.

He frequented the restaurant, located at 4730 E. Lone Mountain Road, even before he took ownership.

“I bought a house down the street because my house didn’t have any appliances at first,” Buchanan says. “So, I would come here to get a bag of ice, some food or whatever, and the owners wanted to sell, so I jumped on it.”

Brisam’s has regular grill staples, like traditional hamburgers ($11.75) or more exotic options like a ciabatta steak sandwich with center-cut top sirloin with lettuce, tomatoes, onion and chipotle mayo ($16.75). Seafood is on the menu: mahi-mahi fish tacos ($12) or Icelandic cod fish and chips with French fries and coleslaw ($14.25). Pizzas, pastas, appetizers and salads are reasonably priced, but have big taste.

Buchanan enjoyed the menu and atmosphere of Brisam’s before he purchased it, but knew changes had to be made. Rather than overhaul the menu and vibe, he changed the food distributor and increased the food quality with a minimal price increase.

“The price point is still very reasonable,” Buchanan says. “We wanted to keep it under about $20 if we could while still having as good of a product as possible.

“We didn’t change the items as much as we changed the products behind the items. It was about increasing the quality.”

He attributes the restaurant’s success to his dedicated staff. Many of his servers, cooks and other employees have been around for years, bucking the restaurant industry trend of heavy turnover. That translates to better service and familiarity with the menu.

“It’s a family atmosphere,” Buchanan says. “We have a lot of long-term people, which means the servers know all the regulars. There are people where as soon as they walk in the door, a server has their regular drink order ready to put in their hand.”

Brisam’s Grill, Bar and Patio

4730 E. Lone Mountain Road, Cave Creek

480-595-2202, brisams.com

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