Twist Bistro & Gallery: Where art and food come together

By Sarah Haber

At 10 years old, Larry Shore sat in the kitchen and watched eagerly as his mother prepared dinner. The kitchen was a beautiful mess with flour dusting the countertops, spoons scattered and an assortment of vegetables laying across the cutting board. By the stove, the dough was laid out ready to be kneaded.

“Larry, why don’t you pretend this dough is a bully and help me make dinner,” his mother said, enticing him to partake in that evening’s meal preparation. Larry rushed over and began to push his palms into the dough. In that instant, he knew cooking was in his future. He loved how his mother made cooking a fun game, and he never wanted it to end. From that moment on, he told everyone he wanted to be a “cooker man” when he grew up.

Years later, Larry is living out his dream. His culinary career has taken him all across the country working for and owning various restaurants. He and his wife, Sandy, opened their own restaurant, Cedar 65 Bistro and Gallery, in Evergreen, Colorado. Both of them loved having the freedom to create and serve in their own way.

Four years later, the couple returned to Arizona and opened Twist Bistro & Gallery in North Scottsdale. This unique restaurant and art gallery serves locally sourced Mediterranean cuisine with the couple’s own special flavor.

“We want everyone in our restaurant to feel special and be served exotic food without intimidation or arrogance,” Larry says. His goal as executive chef is to take care of every person who walks through the door.

Sandy is an artist with an eye for pieces that elicit emotion. Her role at Twist Bistro & Gallery is selecting new pieces from local artists every three months to display in the restaurant. She follows a theme and gives local artists the opportunity to exhibit their work, while adding to the overall ambiance of the restaurant.

“Art is a feast for the eyes, and the food is a feast for the rest of the senses,” Larry says. To elevate the dining experience, the Shores have created a place where art and food flow together, making the experience of dining creative, special and fun.

The theme is peace. Sandy chooses pieces that emulate current events and give customers a relaxing setting when they come in.

“I always want to get the right pieces and put them together so that it is a cohesive unit,” Sandy says.

When the couple went on their first date, they agreed from the start that it is frustrating to see people in the creative space who don’t let artists do their job. Larry says most people opening restaurants “don’t know what they are doing or don’t get it.”

The Shores feel art and food should coexist — one would not make sense without the other. From then on, they shared the goal of one day owning a restaurant where they could connect their passions.

In Scottsdale, it is hard to find a restaurant that is not the typical happy-hour Mexican cuisine type of eatery. The Shores’ goal was to introduce upscale cuisine in a way that is not scary. Even better, their prices are fair and competitive to remove any “stuffiness” that comes with expensive dining.

All of the food is sourced locally and made from scratch. The menu changes every three months to reflect the season and to explore customers’ palates.

“People look forward to the changes we make. It’s like a new restaurant every few months between the new art and new food,” Larry says.

The menu is highly “chef driven,” Larry says, while still being pleasing to the average “foodie.” For example, the ingredients in this dish Turkish flatbread pizza ($14) have ground lamb, tomato, feta, green onion and cherry tomatoes cooked in a way that blend and expand the tastebuds to something delicious and out of the ordinary. He understands consumers can be intimidated about trying something so exotic, so he introduces the flavoring in an easy format — a flatbread pizza.

The most popular dish on the menu is the shrimp and sausage diablo, with spicy Italian sausage, grilled gulf shrimp, fresh basil, asparagus, green olives, tomato confit and organic three-cheese polenta ($25).

The couple say their customers love the feeling of walking into Twist and knowing that they are somewhere special. Twist Bistro & Gallery only opened in May but has already built a large customer base.

“There is a good percentage of people out there who want something different, good and healthy,” Larry says.

The husband-and-wife duo encourage people to switch up their food experience and give chef-driven food “a shot.” The restaurant’s menu is different but still comfortable.

“We want our food to match what is put on the walls and vice versa,” Sandy says. Between the stunning artwork mindfully displayed, the lingering smell of spices, and the “ambassador-like” servers, it is clear to everyone who walks in the door that Twist Bistro and Gallery is somewhere special. 

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