On Wednesday, March 9, Sheraton Phoenix Downtown will unveil the highly-anticipated Caracara restaurant as one of the final phases of a property-wide renovation under Sheraton brand’s new vision. Led by Executive Chef Chaz Frankenfield and influenced by the rich traditions of the Southwest, Carcara is the newest addition to downtown Phoenix’s bustling culinary scene.
Located in the newly reimagined Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, Carcara welcomes guests to immerse themselves in the destination with a modern design incorporating lush greenery and warm, earth tones along with an expansive 14-foot tree in the center of the dining room. Outside, the perimeter of the patio is lined with Cara Cara orange trees, the inspiration and namesake for the restaurant. A Sonoran-inspired menu uses locally sourced ingredients to commemorate the heritage and history of the local Phoenix community.
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“Carcara is an impressive addition to the ever expanding downtown Phoenix culinary scene, honoring the Sheraton brand’s community-forward ethos and celebrating the local community through design and thoughtfully-sourced, seasonally inspired cuisine,” said Chef Frankenfield. “We’re thrilled to be a part of the city’s resurgence, and we look forward to delighting visitors and locals with an unforgettable dining experience.”
Culinary Journey Celebrating Phoenix’s Cultural Heritage:
When curating the menu, Chef Frankenfield and Carcara’s Chef de Cuisine Angy Dykstra were inspired by the five C’s of Arizona: cattle, citrus, copper, cotton and climate. The five C’s served as an important role in Arizona’s economy early on and continue to play a strong cultural role in the community today. Carcara’s menu changes seasonally and utilizes locally-sourced ingredients, influenced by the rich traditions of the Southwest, including Native American and Sonoran-inspired dishes. Menu highlights include light bites and dips, flavorful salads and soups, colorful sides, and decadent main dishes. To start, guests can enjoy candied prickly pear ribs served with jalapeño slaw; Baja shrimp ceviche dressed with cucumber, orange, serrano peppers, tomato, and cilantro sourced from Stern Produce; and crispy eggplant taco with Crow’s Dairy goat cheese, citrus ratatouille, and shaved jicama. Standout entrees include prosciutto wrapped seared sea scallops served alongside Ramona Farms red corn polenta, wilted spinach, and nectarine butter or beef ribeye with roasted fingerling potatoes, jalapeño cilantro chimichurri, fried garlic, and lemon broccoli.
Beverage Program Influenced by Citrus and Seasonal Flavors:
Carcara’s beverage program, developed by Director of Restaurants Lenny Skorcz, highlights cocktails with a heavy citrus influence, hand-crafted syrups, and fresh, seasonal flavors. Inspired by well-known hiking trails throughout the state of Arizona, signature cocktails include the Devil’s Bridge featuring pink dragon fruit infused rum, stone fruit syrup, pineapple juice, lime, lemon, and orange bitters, along with Cathedral Rock made with Cruzan rum Del Maguey Mezcal, Blue Curacao, chipotle pineapple syrup, lime, and pineapple. Carcara also offers its own signature canned cocktail, produced in-house, with Grey Goose Vodka, Martini Rossi Fiero Aperitivo, martini bitter, Valencia Cara Cara, Tarocco blood orange, saline and tiki bitters. The beer menu showcases local Phoenix breweries – many of which are within walking distance of Sheraton Phoenix Downtown – including Huss Brewing Co, Phoenix Beer Company, American Wilderness Brewing Company and Greenwood Brewing.
Designed by New York-based Celano Design Studio, Carcara is inspired by the region’s cotton fields and citrus groves, honoring the rich agricultural history of the Phoenix area with simple comforts and refined details. The space expands 7,000 square feet and can seat up to 276 guests, featuring a central bar, indoor lounge, main dining area, three individually-designed private dining rooms for groups and intimate events, and The Grove, an outdoor lounge and dining area with a traditional fireplace and two fire pits.
The space features lush greenery both in a mix of clay pots and from a large hanging wood planter suspended from the ceiling, marble pavers in a variety of colors and shapes, and ochre and sunbaked gold tones throughout. Drawing on nature, a central focal point of the space is a 14-foot-tall Chestnut Oak tree growing through the wood trellis in the center of the dining room. This custom tree has a 21-foot diameter canopy and collection of glass and metal lanterns hanging within the branches to add a soft glow.
“Carcara celebrates the natural wonders of the Sonoran region, with particular inspiration coming from the cotton fields and citrus groves,” said Vincent Celano, founder and CEO of Celano Design Studio. “We utilized materials like cotton fabrics, clay pots, and wood to bring the feeling of the outdoors into the restaurant and create a lush escape in the resort.”
Carcara is located on the Southeast corner of Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, accessible through the ground floor lobby of the hotel as well as the 3rd Street entrance. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Thursday from 3:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. on weeknights and 10:00 p.m. on weekends for dinner and cocktails. For reservations, please visit OpenTable, carcararestaurant.com, or call (602) 817-5400.