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Restaurants prep for big Mother's Day

Patrons heading out to celebrate amid vaccine, lower COVID numbers

Posted 5/8/21

Headed out for Mother’s Day Brunch?You might have to make a few extra calls to get the dining experience you are looking for this Sunday. Many restaurants are already booked — a sign that …

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Subscriber Exclusive

Restaurants prep for big Mother's Day

Patrons heading out to celebrate amid vaccine, lower COVID numbers


Anyone heading out for a Mother’s Day brunch better get used to crowds and calling ahead to see if there are openings.

Many Valley restaurants are already booked — a sign spring is in full swing and pandemic worries may be calming.

Mother’s Day typically is one of the highest spending holidays on the calendar. Average spending this year is expected to top $220, according to report from the National Retail Federation. The top three gifts, according to the NRF survey, were greeting cards at 72%, flowers at 68% and special outings at 49%.

Total spending nationally for the holiday this year is expected to hit $28.1 billion, with 83% of U.S. adults expected to celebrate the holiday, according to NRF.

At Phoenix’s Wrigley Mansion, the two restaurant’s on the property, Geordie’s and Christopher’s, were sold out by March, according to Kiersten Bell, guest relations manager.
The restaurants are offering a six-course brunch for $98 this Sunday.

The Wrigley Mansion, originally built in 1932 for chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. as a 50th anniversary gift for his wife, Ada, is a private club and requires a minimum $20 membership per year to dine at its restaurants.

Mother’s Day is one of the top sales days of the year for many independent restaurants, according to a review of receipts by software provider Wompley. Even last year at the beginning of the pandemic, many restaurants saw their sales more than 103% on Mother’s Day.

This Sunday, Ms. Bell said Geordie’s has reserved tables for 217 guests plus 500 people on a waiting list in case customers decide to change their plans. Christopher’s has all its 30 total seats occupied for brunch on Sunday.

Ms. Bell said officials anticipated to sell out “pretty fast” and that the mansion’s restaurants typically do well on holidays.

“We were closed for COVID (on Mother’s Day) last year,” Ms. Bell said. “We are thrilled to be back open.”

Kimi Thomas, marketing manager at Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix, said T. Cook’s is another restaurant with no available tables on Sunday.

Places such as the Capital Grille in Scottsdale and Steak 44 in Phoenix are also fully booked.

She suggests customers should plan ahead a bit earlier next Mother’s Day.

“Typically, we do have great turnouts for all holiday brunches/meals,” Ms. Thomas said. “...Having a variety of foods allows for everyone to find something they like. We offer the traditional eggs, pancakes, etc, in addition to seafood, antipasto, Southwestern favorites, main courses, desserts.”

Corey O’Brien of Carlos O’Brien’s in Happy Valley said his restaurant will have tables this Sunday. But the restaurant isn’t offering anything different than its regular menu.

But Mr. O’Brien’s eatery could be busy. He said he expects more traffic at the Happy Valley location since the 12th Street and Northern Avenue location closed.

“We are just doing our normal, everyday stuff,” Mr. O’Brien said. “We’ve been around a long time. It’s a special place for a lot of people.”
Still having trouble deciding on where to go for brunch?

A website,, might be a good way to determine where might be available.

The Keg Steakhouse in Desert Ridge and Avanti in Central Phoenix were among restaurants that had Sunday availability as of Friday.

Shelly Lyle and her mother, De Hawk, decided to treat themselves to a Mother’s Day lunch a few days early.

Ms. Lyle decided on the pollo fundido, a chicken chimichanga covered with jalapeño cream cheese and cheddar cheese, a staple at Carlos O’Brien’s in Happy Valley. Her mother opted for the beef chimichanga.

“Why?” Ms. Lyle asked of going early to celebrate. “It’s less crowded, better service. You don’t have to wait for a table for hours.”

Mr. O’Brien said his restaurant might be a good option for those who don’t want to worry about making any kind of reservation. Instead, it’s first come, first served.

“(Customers get) the same thing (that’s always on the menu),” Mr. O’Brien said. “That’s always good — a great value in a casual atmosphere.”