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Tue, Sept. 24

Chew on This: Soldi Back Alley Bistro brings flair and fashion to local cuisine

PRESCOTT - Word of mouth has made Soldi Back Alley Bistro a local favorite.

Word of the restaurant, found at 111 Grove Avenue in Prescott, also spread on social media via their Facebook page, which lists menu options, specials and more.

Chef/owner Aimee Novak said part of what makes her restaurant unique is its changing menu. A new menu is posted on Facebook weekly.

The restaurant offers anything from Vietnamese sandwiches and street tacos to panninis and falafel. In the winter, for instance, Soldi offers a variety of noodle bowls, including Indonesian, Vietnamese and other styles. In the summer, she offers an assortment of salads. Noodles and salads can also be found on the weekly menu.

"I try to stay true to seasonal cooking," Novak said. "The ingredients change every week, depending on what's in season."

Novak buys local ingredients from farmer's markets or local farms to use in her cooking.

"We have a real regular crowd and many say they feel like they're not in Prescott when they come here. I've had a lot of people say it feels European in the summer," Novak said. "I have people who come every week because they know they're going to get something different."

Open for lunch Tuesday through Friday, Soldi is also open Friday evenings for dinner and offers a "small plates" menu that changes regularly, Novak said. Diners can also "bring their own bottle" thanks to a permit from the city of Prescott.

"You can bring one bottle of wine per person or 40 ounces of beer per person," Novak said. "Soldi, in Italian, means loose change or beer money. It's slang. Our idea for this was to offer creative and affordable street food from around the world."

Novak, a former salon owner, is a 2010 graduate of the Art Institute of Phoenix. Besides the restaurant, Soldi is also available for catering.

"The first time I learned to eat was in Europe around 2004. Everything was so fresh and tasted fantastic. It was unlike what I had ever experienced growing up," she said.

Her trips to Italy and France, she said, inspired her to become a chef. Another inspiration came as a Christmas gift from her parents, who sent Novak and her sister to a weeklong culinary boot camp at the Culinary Institute of America. She enrolled in chef school shortly thereafter and continued to take trips to Europe whenever possible.

While the restaurant only accepts cash, Novak said an ATM is conveniently located right next door.

In May of last year, Novak opened the restaurant on a regular basis and closed her salon business to operate the restaurant full time.

Soldi's can also offer private parties. Call ahead at 928-777-0444 for more information and to inquire about this week's menu.

The menu

This week, menu items included Creole jambalaya quesadillas, made with Mozzarella cheese, green onions, bell peppers, garlic, Creole seasoning and rice with hot Louisiana sausage; falafel, made with fried chickpea balls seasoned with parsley, cilantro, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander and red pepper flakes topped with olive-orange relish, rosemary peanuts, cherry tomatoes, cabbage, feta cheese and herbed yogurt sauce in a pita; and a pork taco adobado, made with Pork braised in a mixture of onion, garlic, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, dried oregano, chili powder and honey topped with chili lime slaw and pico de gallo. Other menu items include, when available, spice rubbed chicken thigh tacos, ginger beer battered crispy tofu tacos, and other choices. Vegetarians are also available on some dishes.

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