Newsletter Archive: July 09 Steak-O-Gram

Greetings, Monti’s Friends! (And welcome new readers. Don’t worry, I write only every six to eight weeks.)

This will not be quite my typical torrent of verbiage and wisdom–and I don’t have any Old West lore to impart today, but I wanted to put out one more newsletter before Independence Day, just to let you all know what has been going on around here. Well…to the extent that anything has been going on around here, given this lovely global economic slump. But we have much to be grateful for, and I want to thank all of you for keeping us going at a time when so many other restaurants have succumbed to the crisis. The soundtrack for restaurants lately has been, mostly, crickets chirping.

Please skip over the next brief section if you DO have the intestinal fortitude to bear the avalanche of email I send each year (…what, six to eight messages?)–otherwise, if you feel that paralysis might set in before you can click the “delete” button and you will consequently die of starvation while unable to avert your gaze from the rest of this email, read below for instructions on how to be dropped from my list.

HOW TO GET OFF MY LIST INSTANTLY: If you do not want to receive any e-mail from me ever, please send me (Michael Monti) a message at newsbox(at) and I will gladly remove you from my distribution group. (See end of this message for more details.)

Now, a wise man once told me that in business, if you do nothing else, paint the front door once a year. Though we did recently stain the door, I don’t think that the aforementioned sage intended the aphorism to be taken literally. In that spirit, we did recently update the look of our menu. Eddie Goitia, wearing his Tempe Diablos hat, had recently overseen the creation of a beautiful pamphlet designed to entice wealthy donors to fund scholarships through the Diablo Foundation (and please consider supporting the many worthy Diablo causes by visiting The graphic artist did such a bang-up job at designing the pamphlet that Eddie decided to have her facelift our decade-old menu layout as well. After all, if her artwork could get some plutocrat to part with $35,000 it certainly ought to entice you to break out the wallet for a prime rib. Or so we hope, anyway.

Now, there were many other reasons to update our menu. Hopefully you will find it to be not only pleasing to the eye, but also clearer and more concise. We also added Chili as the soup of the day on Wednesdays, as well as putting Fish and Chips back on for lunch after a long hiatus. Finally, let me address the inevitable question: “So I suppose with this fancy, slick new menu of yours you also jacked up prices, eh, you miserly *&%$$! ?” The answer is, no– except for one, single item which went up only as a direct result of cost. All other prices have remained the same. If you are the first reader to email me the name of the item that we raised the price on, I will treat you and a guest to one on the house. (First correct entry wins…in my sole discretion, yada yada yada.) So please come and look over the menu and let me know if you like it.

New Menu / To-Go Menu
Ghost Hunt: YouTube Video and Photos at WCGAPS
BBQ on Patio / “MEAT” MLM & Eddie
Craigslist Ad / 12 Free Dinners
All is Vanity / Classic Iron Returns
4th of July (Monti’s is Open, Inside the Block Party)

The “Meat” Michael & Eddie Event on the Patio at Monti’s

We have been experimenting quite a bit lately with social media (Twitter, Facebook), and I decided to have a cookout in the afternoon on June 18th out on our front patio and spread the invitiation only through those forms of communication. The plan was for me and Eddie to wield the spatulas ourselves, and as an added enticement to brave the afternoon heat we would offer the hamburger-and-fries baskets we were cranking out for only $2.99 on the patio. We got about twenty-five takers, from a very strange demographic cross-section (and distinguished primarily by a shared willingness to take the heat), in the sense that there were people you would not usually expect to find together. They were united by the strange overlap of my social networking groups and Eddie’s. It was fun, but in no way prepared us for what happened at the next “new media” even we staged:

So, we had a ghost hunt for kids. This was the bright idea of our friends over at the West Coast Ghost and Paranormal Society, who several months ago held a quiet, private investigation on our premises late at night. The WCGAPS folks thought that there might be interest in a little session for children at which a presentation of past investigations and demonstrations of the equipment (infrared cameras, digital thermometers, electric field meters, etc) would be followed by slinking around the darkened restaurant in search of phantoms. So a date was set, and we waited for the tickets to sell…and waited. (More crickets chirping.) Then, a couple of days before the event it hit TV, and radio, and the papers. So at 9 p.m. on the 20th we were a bit off guard when THREE HUNDRED PEOPLE showed up. Needless to say, hasty improvisations were made to keep people occupied and interested–but overall, it was a huge success and lots of fun for the kids (mine included). You can see dozens of photos over at, and there are links to videos over on my blog at

Planning is in the works for additional sessions, so stay tuned.

Used Cars, Windshields and Free Steaks…

So, over a decade ago we agreed to a promotional deal with a company called Empire Glass. That turned out to be an epic, controversial, tumultuous yet lucrative (for a time) arrangement. There is probably an entire book’s worth of tales to spin about that relationship. But say what you will, the campaign made a lasting impression–even after all of these years. Please peruse the following Craigslist ad for the sale of a car, stumbled upon by my wife as she searched for any Monti’s memorabilia that might have been listed for sale; I call it the “Buy a Car, Get 12 Free Dinners at Monti’s” pitch:

“phoenix craigslist > east valley > cars & trucks – by owner
2000 Chevrolet Cavalier – 2dr 2.2 liter – $1700 (Tempe)
We are in a recession, right? That means people are strapped for cash and looking for good deals, right? I am perplexed. I have been posting this car on Craigslist now for the last month or so and I have received little feedback. I’m beginning to think that the news reporters have more of a need for good deals on Craigslist than the general public does… maybe I’ll send this posting to Kent Dana or Lin Sue Cooney.

This really is a pretty good deal – a solid car priced $500 under KBB value (yes some minor repairs are necessary, but if you can’t accept that fact when you are looking for cars in the under $2k price range than I don’t know what to tell you… keep searching for Atlantis) with plenty of life left in her.

Here are some specs:
-110k miles (most from freeway commutes)
-Automatic Transmission
– Great A/C
– Meanest 4 cylinder engine in the Southwest (no contest)

Where’s the beef? Here’s the beef:
– The rear right brake sticks upon coming to a complete stop. It easily ‘unsticks’ at the pressing of the accelerator. Truly a simple, inexpensive fix. Old lady Geraldine next door could probably fix it in one Golden Girls commercial break.
– There is minor body damage (no structural damage) on the front end thanks to my careless roommate that backed into it when going to work one morning (and that’s why you go to bed at a reasonable time, children. So you don’t wake up one morning in a zombie-like state, head to work looking like a slouch, and back into your loyal roommate’s car, thus jeopardizing his chances of making a quick and honest sell on Craigslist when he could really use the extra cash).

That’s about it for the posting. Give me a call (602-412-7093) or send an email (jeffrey.rose.1 AT gmail DOT com).

Call in the next 15 minutes and I will throw in a free box of Omaha Steaks! Don’t like Omaha Steaks? No Problem! Instead I will throw in 12 free dinners to Monti’s la Casa Vieja and the last traces of dignity I have left. (thx for the sales strategy Empire Glass)

Location: Tempe
it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests” [END of Ad]

So, somebody please buy this man’s car (if it hasn’t sold by now). He invoked the power of Monti’s and deserves a powerful response.

Over the last couple of months we have been making some moves on the automotive front. A two-year project to resurrect my father’s venerable old 1966 Excalibur Roadster is finally bearing fruit in terms of mechanical reliability. Translation: hapless drivers of the car, being me or Eddie and our less-than-impressed passengers Shea and Bryce, are no longer stranded at random, dangerous places such as Interstate on-ramps.

Many of you Monti’s veterans of the 1970s and 1980s remember seeing the Excalibur parked behind the kitchen; Dad…well, ‘The Company’…bought it around 1975. He was the third owner, the first owner was said to be Adam West, the legendary, if campy, star of the TV Batman series. Even then, it was clear that the old machine had been ‘rode hard and put away wet’ a few too many times. All I know is that, as a kid, I thought that the car was totally cool in its looks and had a throaty exhaust grumble to match.

Within the family my father Leonard was known for his unique idiosyncracies–bluntly, his outright eccentricity. He was truly a man who did things in his own special way, without much regard to what people might think. (My wife and children may tell you that this is a genetic trait. My brother Konrad is Exhibit #1) He was very proud of the Excalibur, and put some of the first vanity plates issued in Arizona on it: “Monti1”. So here he was, driving what was arguably then the most ostentatious car in Tempe around, and coming home to park it in our open carport each evening, over on 12th Street off of Hardy Drive.

So this prominent man, in his conspicuous car, rumbling around a central Tempe neighborhood became very concerned that the LICENSE PLATE would give away his residential address and invite invasion and robbery. Thus, each evening upon parking the car in plain site from the street he would carefully place an 18″ x 24″ scrap of particle board in a position to block the view of “Monti1” so as to ward off criminals. They broke the mold…no wonder we miss him.

So please watch for the Excalibur on display behind the restaurant in the coming weeks. It will soon be sporting a new Military Freedom vanity plate with the rubric “MONTIS”, and I promise not to obscure it in any way with scrap lumber, and would appreciate it if none of you do either.

Fourth of July / Independence Day

And now, just a little housekeeping. We will be open for DINNER at 5 p.m. on the Fourth of July, inside the big block party. So, on that one day we will not open for lunch. Please join us for dinner if you find yourself on the street during the party if you need a respite from the heat and the crowd.

Heard Museum & Light Rail Package

A full day’s entertainment in one convenient package!Have a great outing–lunch or dinner at Monti’s La Casa Vieja along with a full day Valley Metro
rail pass and a general admission ticket to the renowned Heard Museum, all for just $25 (lunch) or $35 (dinner) per person.
Some menu restrictions apply, and there will be sales tax and tip. Please stop in and purchase the package or call (480) 967-7594 for more information.

With that, I would like to thank you for reading and bid you a wonderful Independence Day weekend.


mmonti AT montis DOT com
(480) 967-7594
“World Headquarters”
100 S. Mill Avenue
Tempe AZ 85281


HOW TO GET OFF MY LIST INSTANTLY: If you do not want to receive any e-mail from me ever, please send me

a message at
newsbox(at) and I will gladly remove you from my distribution group. Or just return to the Guest Book on our web site and enter your e-mail address in the Un-Subscribe box. Link:

You are receiving this because you know me or are related to me, (you or someone purporting to be you)

has given me your business card or
filled out a promotional drawing slip, have requested a donation or sent me an e-mail for some other

reason, or you gave your address to me
on a customer comment card. I do not wish to intrude, and no harsh invective is required to motivate me

to remove you from my list. Just ask.

You can also call (480)967-7594 or fax (480)967-8129 and leave a message requesting removal (be sure

and spell out your e-mail address).


Monti’s La Casa Vieja Restaurant & Catering
100 South Mill Avenue
Tempe AZ 85281


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