A BUILDER turned chef is preparing to open his first restaurant as he brings his homemade American food to town.

Rae Truman, from Silver End, is set to open Phoenix Arizona in Bridge Street, Halstead, tomorrow afternoon.

Rae and wife Clare have lived in Essex for 18 years, with Clare already owning Buzy Beanz Bistro just a couple of doors down from the diner.

After being a builder, Rae said he wanted a change of scene, and decided to open the restaurant to give the town something new.

He said: “I have always been a builder, but I love cooking and creating.

“We picked this cuisine as we felt like Halstead was lacking something family-orientated.

“The town has Chinese and Indian restaurants, but they aren’t always for kids. We wanted to give them some recognisable and homemade food to enjoy.”

Rae has been working on the renovations inside for about four months, and hosted a successful taster session last Sunday.

Brentwood Live:

“It went well”, he said. “We got some good and honest feedback, and 90 per cent was positive.

“We were fully booked out at 1pm and 4pm, and the meals were getting out within 25 minutes which was good.

“Now the menus are being created, and we are getting ready for Friday.

“In the back of my mind I am a little nervous, but with the success of Sunday, we know what we can achieve and that makes me excited.”

Phoenix Arizona is opening tomorrow, Friday July 29.

The restaurant is open from 5pm to 11pm from Tuesday to Saturday, and 12pm to 5pm on Sundays.