'A Whole New Culinary Energy': Meet Dust Cutter's New Female Head Chef

by Mer Norwood
Food, Restaurants & Dining Mer Norwood July 1, 2020

Jennifer Evetushick is the new head chef at Dust Cutter, located inside the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel. (Photo: Justin Norwood)
New to Phoenix, and ready to shake things up, Eventushick grew up in Allentown, Pa. and lived in Hawaii for fifteen years. (Photo: Justin Norwood)
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As restaurant dining rooms slowly reopen due to COVID-19, there’s one in particular we highly anticipate the re-opening of Dust Cutter.

Dust Cutter, located in the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel, is a cowboy-sleek restaurant focusing on New American fare. It has a new chef in town, Chef Jennifer Evetushick, who’s here to shake up the “rustic, urban-saloon feel.”

Featuring expansive garage doors opening onto Adams Street, cozy bar stools and a long list of cocktails, Dust Cutter is a happening happy hour spot. (Photo: Dust Cutter)

We sat down with her to discuss Dust Cutter’s new changes, her background, and the dish we can most look forward to.

Evetushick’s curiosity and culinary sensibilities leave little to be desired. Growing up in Allentown, Pa. and then living in Hawaii for fifteen years, she has developed a culinary curiosity to experiment and try new dishes.

Dust Cutter has always been a happening happy hour spot, but Evetushick strives to be more than just that. She wants to feed diners the full-course meal, including an appetizer, entrée and dessert.

Simple, savory and oh-so-comforting: fresh shrimp tostadas with guacamole and crema. (Photo: Dust Cutter)

“We’re a great happy hour spot, but after happy hour, you’re hungry!” she said. “I want to send people off with just as a good a finish as a start.”

Evetuschick constantly asks the question, “How do I get the Southwest on the plate here, that’s not specifically Mexican or not specifically American Tex-Mex?”

The answer is simply found in nostalgia.

“People identify a lot with comfort food, and I think doing it the right way and just a little differently, is pretty ballsy to put on a plate,” she said. “The nostalgia of making people feel good with food is something I base my career on.”

Wrapped in bacon and served with egg and sausage, Dust Cutter’s new cowboy-style meatloaf features bourbon, brown sugar glaze, and is paired with poblano mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. (Photo: Dust Cutter)

She takes a simple childhood dish, like meatloaf, and modernizes it with unique ingredients and approach.

“Our meatloaf is not a regular meatloaf – it’s wrapped in bacon and studded with eggs and sausage,” she said. “It’s very cowboy style with bourbon, brown sugar glaze and black pepper on it, and paired with poblano mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. It’s definitely comfort food that is scaled upwards towards the new-vogue diner.”

Meatloaf is not the only comfort food on the menu. Evetuschick also has her infamous loco moco, a traditional Hawaiian dish that’s a nod towards her experiences there.

The ultimate Hawaiian comfort food, loco moco features white rice topped with hamburger, a fried egg, and savory brown gravy. (Photo: Dust Cutter)

With the new menu, it’s safe to say, to expect the unexpected. And if you’re more into sweet than savory, Evetushick’s got you covered. The dish that’s going to capture everyone’s hearts?

“We, by accident, figured out how to do a warm tres leches!” she said. “I literally just pulled the tres leches out of the oven, I put the sauce on it, and my team’s looks on their face made me ask, ‘Is it junk?’ But they were like, ‘This is so good, can we serve it hot?’ and I was like, ‘Hell yeah!’”

Dust Cutter’s interior is “cowboy chic.” (Photo: Justin Norwood)

Evetushick has more surprises up her sleeve, but you’ll have to come in to see what they are. She’s excited to be here in Phoenix, and can’t wait for you to try Dust Cutter’s new dishes.

“I am bringing a whole new culinary energy to this scene, and I want diners to come and enjoy what we have to offer,” she said. “I am more obsessed with watching people eat their food than making it.”

Dust Cutter is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. for takeout and room service.