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Fri, May 24

Chew on This: A devilish menu filled with tricky treats

Every day is Halloween, at Devil's Pantry ...

Eater beware: This is not the place to go if you're looking to start a health kick.

Indeed, walking into Dave and Amy Seigler's place, you can almost feel your arteries tightening - even as your mouth is watering, sensing the devilish combination of the sweet and the fried.

Over the past two years, this has been a welcome addition to Whiskey Row, which (as the name implies) has far more places offering liquids than solids.

Where a simple burger place would probably do well on the Row, Devil's Pantry is almost mind-bogglingly complex.

Those with a "been there, ate that" attitude toward restaurants may want to check out Devil's Pantry banality-slashing, uber-Halloween (but served all the time) "7 Deadly Sins," $5 each:

1. Twinkie

2. Cupcake

3. Candy bars

4. Chocolate chip cookie dough

5. Oreos

6. Funnel cake

7. Caramel apple fries

What's the big deal with those, the uninitiated might be thinking?

Answer: They're all deep fried. That's right, all of these already sugary treats are "dipped in funnel cake batter, fried in our magic oil, and topped with various sauces such as chocolate, caramel, honey, powdered sugar, whipped cream ..."

And no trick-or-treat bag would be complete without a slice of Devil's Pantry bacon ... you guessed it: chocolate-covered bacon ($1.50).

After a few "normal" items, the likes of hand-dipped corn dog, hamburger and fish and chips, the menu goes absolutely nuts. This is the spot for deep-fried olives, green beans and pickles, or "crispy bacon-wrapped, double-fried corn dog."

Most menu items are in the $5-7 range, with the king of the menu being a $9.50 turkey leg. (Like just about everything else on the menu, the turkey is deep fried.)

On Wednesday at lunch time, new visitor Marco Di Santo was trying cheeseburger fries.

That's not cheeseburger and fries. As the menu says, "House French fries, smothered with ground beef, cheesy jalapeno sauce, onions, pickles, lettuce and tomatoes."

Depending on your palette, you're either thinking "Gross!" ... or "Bring it on!"

Di Santo is in the latter camp. "It was really good," he said, after pounding down the tasty mess. "There's good texture in them - the fries didn't get too soggy. You had lots of little bits of flavor. Each bite was different."

That's exactly what the owner, a long-time Prescottonian (and Prescott High grad) likes to hear.

Wearing his trademark cowboy hat and even more characteristic big smile, Seigler took a break from a busy lunch to answer a few questions.

Question: Weirdest thing you've ever fried?

Answer: There's been a lot of strange things. I'd say the best was "The Oreo Reese's Experiment," which was two double-stuff Oreos with a Reese's peanut cup between them, dipped in chocolate, rolled in bacon crumbs, deep fried it until it was mushy and gushy.

Q: Favorite Halloween food?

A: Anything with chocolate.

Q: Favorite Halloween memories?

A: My friends and I, when we were in junior high school, going up to Mt. Vernon (Avenue). They would give away full-sized candy bars, they'd let you in their house and give you cider. It was neighborly.

Q: Do you think you're doing a community service by putting food in inebriated folks around closing town?

A: I do a very heavy bar business, delivering to the bars all night. Then when they close, we're still here. So, yes, I do think I'm doing a community service. People come in here after drinking too much, they eat and talk to friends - maybe they decide to take a taxi instead of driving home. And I've given dozens of people rides home. My wife and children are on these roads, I'd like them to live.

Q: Best sellers?

A: Top three, I would have to say bacon-wrapped mozzarella sticks, chocolate-covered bacon, and chicken and gravy fries.

Q: Any menu "bombs" that you thought were good but didn't sell?

A: "The Cow Patty." We made a funnel cake out of corn bread and topped it off with chili and cheese and onions. While it looked like cow poop, it tasted amazing. We ran it for about two weeks.

Q: If Satan walked in, what would he order?

A: If he was looking for the most decadent, delicious thing he would order large chicken and gravy fires with caramel apple fries for dessert. And a Sonoran white chocolate ale to drink.

Q: Is this place heaven, or hell?

A: It's my heaven - and my hell. I spend more time here than with my family, that's what makes it hell. I love what I do, that's what makes it heaven.

Devil's Pantry Halloween weekend special: Deep-fried rum daiquiri ($6). You could call it "angel on a bender," as it's angel food cake soaked in rum, topped off with a rum sugar sauce and rum raspberry sauce. "My wife said the rum taste was too strong," Dave Seigler said, "but my bar friends loved it."

- By Tom Scanlon, The Daily Courier


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