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Fē-nix: Fine Dining at Comfort Food Prices

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It’s Friday evening, after a long week of work and kids, and you’re dreaming about a nice, cozy place to go for a good meal. Fē-nix Restaurant, a contemporary dining experience in the heart of Lodi, just might be your dream come true.

Chef Richard Hyman wants you to know that he loves cooking for you and that he offers a unique dining experience at very comparable prices. “I think that, due to my illustrious background,” he chuckled, “a lot of people are under the assumption that Fē-nix is a high-end, fine-dining restaurant.”

However, Chef Richard likes to think of his food as “elevated comfort food.” He calls his menu “creative, but recognizable, thoughtfully processed, and approachable price-wise.” Chef Richard states that his daily objective is to satisfy 120 people who are expecting him to put something delicious and good in their bodies. “I believe that food should be more than just stuff you put in your mouth. It should be tactile and emotional, as well as affordable.”

Chef Richard explained, “Anybody can cook a chicken breast, but not serve it with my combinations.” He takes his chicken to a whole new level, and serves only organic, free-range chicken. He describes the twice-cooked label he calls sous vide, a French method of cooking, in which food is sealed in airtight plastic bags, then placed in a water bath or in a temperature-controlled steam environment for hours. He uses this method to ensure that his in-house-cut meats are evenly cooked without overcooking the outside. They’re tossed on the grill just long enough to sear the outside, and the result is a very tender and juicy steak. “Not everyone does this, and if they do, you will find it very expensive due to the extra work involved.”

Fē-nix diners will always find the menu fresh and evolving with the seasons. “I like to change it up about every three weeks, keeping it fresh and lively, although my famous Crispy Brussel’s Sprouts are available year-round.” Chef Richard also prides himself on using only local hand-cut meats, locally grown produce when possible, and by supporting the Lodi Appellation. In fact, he is happy to offer free corkage for any Lodi vintner’s wine brought into the restaurant.

If you are in the mood for a dining experience that’s totally new, imaginative, eclectic and, above all, delicious, as well as within your budget, put Fē-nix Restaurant on your list of must-visit restaurants for the new year. ■

Visit Fē-nix at 117 W. Elm Street in Lodi. Reservations are encouraged and can be made online at or at OpenTable. Fē-nix is closed Mondays and Tuesdays except private events; open Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.; on Wednesday and Sunday, the bar opens at 4:00 p.m.