10 Facts about The Yard Tempe

Culinary Dropout at the Yard Tempe debuts Tuesday, Dec. 9, in a much-anticipated launch that culminated 18 months of prep work and construction.

Also referred to as the Yard at Farmer Arts District, the Fox Restaurant Concepts project is among the first businesses to kick off the revitalization of the Farmer Arts District, which includes the Madison Improvement Club, a spin and yoga studio with a nightclub vibe, and breakfast spot Over Easy, opening early next year.

In addition to dining and bar space, Culinary Dropout features flatscreen televisions for sports viewing, backyard-style games and a stage for live music. Judging from the popularity of the Yard at Seventh Street and Montebello Avenue in Phoenix, the Tempe version should have no trouble drawing crowds.

Here are 10 cool facts about the new Culinary Dropout at the Yard Tempe:

1. One of nearly 40 Fox locations across Arizona, plus venues in California, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Nevada, Texas and Virginia, this Tempe project is the company’s largest to date, at $11 million.

2. The new and fourth Culinary Dropout features Fox’s largest restaurant kitchen, with the ability to cater up to 1,300 people. In addition Phoenix and at Scottsdale Waterfront, Culinary Dropout has a branch in Las Vegas.

3. The core building, which houses the Showcase Room — one of two private dining areas — was originally constructed as a citrus packing plant. In the 1960s, the building was the warehouse for Thorens Showcase and Fixtures.

4. The Showcase Room’s wood beams and reclaimed metal walls were salvaged from the original building.

5. Building the Yard wasn’t the original plan for the Tempe property. Years ago, Fox’s owner, Sam Fox, eyed the site as potential corporate office space, but it was sold to an IT firm, which later sold it to the restaurateur. His headquarters were already set, but he decided to try the successful formula behind the Phoenix Yard concept there.

6. The Madison Improvement Club features a lighting and sound system that was influenced by one of London’s premier nightclub spots.

7. They are clothed, but Culinary Dropout employees are not required to wear uniforms.

8. Brendan Ayers, Culinary Dropout’s brand chef, got his start as a line cook at Zinc Bistro for Matt Carter and continued on to Tarbell’s as Mark Tarbell’s sous chef.

9. For private events at the Showroom, menu selections from any Fox restaurant, such as True Food Kitchen, Olive and Ivy, the Henry and Little Cleo’s Seafood Legend, are available for dining.

10. Can’t decide between cereal and French toast for breakfast? No problem. The weekend menu flaunts a Cap’n Crunch-crusted French toast garnished with fresh raspberries.