By Jennifer McClellan
In February, Eddie Castillo and Mike Caliendo, co-owners of AZ Food Crafters, turned the front of their Chandler production kitchen into a cafe.
From the storefront on the southeastern corner of Alma School and Ray roads, they started selling the sweet and savory hand pies that had developed a following at the nine farmers markets they had frequented since 2011.
In the late spring, they started selling cupcakes from Bre’s Cupcakes, a fellow farmers market vendor. Now, they’ve added creme brulee from Torched Goodness to the menu. Previously, AZ Food Crafters had partnered with Torched Goodness behind the scenes, using leftover egg whites (only yolks are needed in creme brulee) in the turkey sausage and egg-white breakfast pie.
“Variety is awesome,” Castillo said. “I love when I go somewhere and see different things on the menu. Pies keep me busy and I wanted to offer a variety. So I thought, why not have someone who specializes in something offer it here?”
Cupcakes are $3.50 and come in three flavors: red velvet with white-chocolate cream-cheese frosting; vanilla bean; and chocolate euphoria with dark-chocolate frosting and a malt-ball topper.
Creme brulee, in vanilla and sea-salt caramel, goes for $3 for a small and $5 for a large.
Castillo plans to open a market area inside the cafe in late October or early November to sell local products usually seen at farmers markets.
Through July 31, AZ Food Crafters is collecting donations of school supplies for the children living at A New Leaf, a domestic-violence and homeless shelter.
AZ Food Crafters is rewarding donors with free hand pies. Those who bring in a single item, such as a backpack, three-ring binder, calculator, package of markers or colored pencils, get a dessert pie. Those who bring in a backpack filled with one of each item (find the complete list online) get a dessert pie, a three-pack of frozen hand pies and a 25 percent off coupon.