By Lynette Carrington
There is a special oasis in historic downtown Chandler that is home to a uniquely beautiful pub and brewery called The Perch. The upstairs patio overlooking downtown wasn’t the only inspiration for the pub’s name—The Perch is also a sanctuary for exotic rescue birds that greet guests at the entrance.
The food, lush patio, second-story outdoor seating, feathered friends and green efforts throughout the restaurant make The Perch one local hotspot you can feel good about visiting.
Owned by Rebecca Lavenue and Sue Sechrest, The Perch is located at 232 S. Wall St., and occupies a space that used to house several old homes—some of the oldest in Chandler. As remodeling and construction began, Lavenue and Sechrest reused and repurposed as much as possible. The whimsical restrooms, which look like rustic outhouses on the outside (gone very upscale, once inside) feature an outside unisex sink set atop a massive tree trunk repurposed as a pedestal. The tree trunk was one that was found on The Perch property early during construction. The bathrooms were built using scrap wood and materials from previous and defunct projects from their contractors’ material yards. “Most of the other wood used at The Perch is reclaimed wood and we used it in various places,” Sechrest added. “All the brick is reused, too. We’ve moved a lot of it around to create the space we needed.”
Opened in February, the quaint gastropub is also home to 60 exotic birds ranging from finches and love birds to Amazon parrots and macaws. The birds came with the property when Lavenue purchased it. The previous owner of the property had several birds that were kept in a small wooden cage. When Lavenue purchased the property, the birds were part of the land deal and she added many more birds from Arizona Exotic Bird Rescue during The Perch’s construction. A huge aviary has since been constructed on the east side of the patio to house The Perch’s sizable flock. “They were unadoptable because they had been abused,” Lavenue said of some of the birds.
The birds now get regular care, love and attention from Lavenue and some dedicated volunteers who stop in from Arizona Exotic Bird Rescue. “They are happy to be a part of this and we may take additional rescue birds from them in the future, as long as we have the space,” Lavenue explained. She also noted that because the larger exotic birds sometimes live to be 80 or more years old and require a lot of attention and care, she takes steps to make sure they don’t breed, including omitting nesting areas from their living spaces. The birds are a natural complement to the jungle-like ambiance on the main patio that includes lush foliage and lots of shade. The front patio also boasts rosemary, mint and dill plants that are used in some the recipes.
Visitors to The Perch will also find some imaginative additions in the restaurant and patio that include a massive chess board inside and a checkerboard on the outdoor patio. The black and red checker pieces are fashioned from small river stones, and the game tabletop and seats are repurposed tree stumps.
Shortly after The Perch opened, Lavenue and Sechrest partnered with surrounding businesses to implement a large recycling operation on the property. “Planet Sub and Gangplank have teamed up with us to go bigger in the recycling department and we’re happy to do it,” Lavenue said.
Even the dishes and glasses get the green treatment. “We chose to use green products for cleaning our dishes. Sure, we could have used something cheaper, but it was important to us and that’s what we chose to do,” stated Lavenue.
The menu at The Perch includes specialty appetizers, burgers, wings and large salads, including some delicious vegan options. Vegan menu options include the hummus trio with sun-dried tomato, artichoke and garlic, roasted chilis and lime, and beer hummus varieties, the olive bowl served with a toasted baguette and olive herb tapenade and a bruschetta plate with apricot, pecan and honey, mushroom and toasted walnut pate, and house-made nut-free pesto caprese. Any of the creative salads can be served vegan with the elimination of goat cheese or chicken. Don’t miss the macaw salad which features a spring mix with cilantro, Fresno chilis, shaved coconut and jicama topped with mango jam and served with tamarind lime dressing. It is a truly unique tangy and sweet sensation.
Their signature pizzas include the Brussels sprout and apple cider bacon pizza, and the ultimate beer sausage pizza with sliced Sierra Nevada Porter brat, red onion and bell pepper over a house pale ale cheese sauce on seasonal beer dough.
Within a few short months the restaurant will open its own on-site brewery with brewmaster Andrew Bauman taking charge, crafting various specialty brews that will be signature to The Perch. The used hops product will also be repurposed in a green manner. “Hops have an exfoliating quality about them. When we’re done brewing the beer, we’re going to make the hops into soap with the help of a neighboring business,” Lavenue explained.
In the future, the restaurant expects to hold wine and beer events as well as fundraisers for bird and pet organizations.
Photos by Lynette Carrington