New restaurant offers fresh start for grieving Scottsdale mother

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(Source: PNPK via Instagram) (Source: PNPK via Instagram)

When Kellie Pruitt quit her CFO job to open a restaurant in North Scottsdale four years ago, she knew it would be difficult.

"I had a lot to learn in a very short time," Pruitt said. "And that was really the hardest part."

What she didn't know is that she'd soon be facing a whole new reality. Two years later, her only daughter Harleigh passed away suddenly at age 17. Pruitt and her husband were headed to Rocky Point for her 50th birthday when they got a phone call from a neighbor.

"I called Harleigh and the sheriff answered and he told me she had passed away and I was just in shock," Pruitt said. "How? What happened? He said he didn't know she was taken to the hospital where she died."

Doctors told her a blood clot traveled from her leg to her heart. An unexpected death for a healthy teenager.

"It just wasn't real to me," Pruitt said, "I kept hoping when I woke up the next day it would be a horrible dream but it wasn't."

Kellie lost not only her daughter but her best friend. The day to day operations of running a restaurant became too much while she was grieving and business fell by the wayside.

"There is no healing," said Pruitt. "It's just less raw, the pain is always there."

Two years later Pruitt is starting a new chapter, opening a restaurant as an homage to the place she took her tears. PNPK, short for Pinnacle Peak, opened in her former restaurant's space: Grape Bistro. It features elevated comfort food and because it's so close to Scottsdale Airpark, flights of wine and food.

"We do charcuterie flights, bruschetta flights, deviled eggs, shareable plates and we even have a dessert flight," Pruitt said.

She hopes the restaurant and wine bar will help transform the area and continue to keep Harleigh's memory alive.

"This is definitely something I have poured myself into," Pruitt said. "And I feel so good about it because so much of it is inspired by her."

Pruitt said Harleigh loved her sliders and the meatballs on the menu.

PNPK's signature cocktail is called the Tickle Me PNPK Punch, which is made with Arizona prickly pear, ginger ale and sparkling wine. Pruitt notes that $1 from the proceeds of each of these cocktails sold will be donated to the Friends of Pinnacle Peak Park, a volunteer group that ensures Pinnacle Peak Park is maintained and cared for on a daily basis. 

PNPK is located on the Southeast corner of Scottsdale Road and Pinnacle Peak at 23335 N. Scottsdale Road. The 2,600-square-foot venue, which boasts a dog-friendly patio, will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and will offer happy hour from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily.

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