As part of Tempe’s burgeoning restaurant scene, two brand-new concepts helmed by seasoned local Chef Alexander Robinson are now open in the heart of the city’s downtown district at The Westin Tempe, including an elevated, signature restaurant and a chic, rooftop bar and poolside lounge that soars high above the Valley’s vast metropolitan area.
Set out to be more than just a destination for hotel guests, The Westin Tempe offers a haven for all patrons, whether they be a local looking for a chic, new venue for happy hour or a leisurely traveler on a staycation. Located on the ground floor of the hotel at the corner of 7th Street and Mill Avenue, Terra Tempe Kitchen & Spirits brings a sophisticated, yet approachable dining experience to the neighborhood with a menu of Modern-American cuisine that cleverly combines bold, rustic flavors with locally sourced ingredients to offer an authentic reflection of the Southwest’s rich history. The restaurant’s innovative beverage program mirrors a similar inspiration, boasting an expansive list of local Arizona brews, an impressive wine list and a lineup of perfectly hand-crafted cocktails that blend native flavors with classic recipes for a novel flair on familiar favorites.
With more than two decades leading the culinary operations at a number of exclusive and luxurious hotel brands across the country, including locally at the iconic Royal Palms and We-Ko-Pa Resorts in Scottsdale, Chef Robinson is revered particularly for his five-star creativity when it comes to the presentation of his dishes. As the executive chef at The Westin Tempe, Robinson draws inspiration from the renowned graffiti culture in his hometown of Los Angeles and his personal love of painting to execute visually impressive plates no matter the combination of flavors and fixings. Just as an artist mixes colors to create a masterpiece, Robinson combines and reinvents standard ingredients to morph them into unique and exciting flavor profiles that surprise guests with every bite.
“Terra Tempe’s menu sets a new standard of elevated dining in Tempe with dishes that are deeply rooted in the culture of the Southwest, yet enhanced with unexpected tastes in a way that captivates guests and keeps them intrigued,” said Chef Robinson. “Terra means ‘Of the Land,’ but to us it means ‘Of Tempe’. We’re very proud to join the vibrant community downtown and to play a role in the neighborhood’s ever-evolving culinary identity.”
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a few standout dishes from the menu include Terra’s Hot Stone, perfect for sharing, features thinly sliced wagyu beef or pacific ahi tuna, fresh cilantro scallion salad, pickled ginger and serrano ponzu; Sonoran Salad, served with perfectly cubed compressed melons, jicama, cucumber, carrot, tomato, wild arugula, drizzled with tequila lime vinaigrette and sprinkled with tajin; Cilantro Dusted Chilean Sea Bass, blanketed in a refreshing avocado crema, arugula, crispy tempura jalapeños and sweet corn pico; and Grilled Filet Mignon, with decadent lump crab mash, asparagus, smoked cipollini onions, chipotle hollandaise and black truffle chimichurri.
Terra Tempe’s contemporary interiors afford a modern atmosphere that embodies the warm, inviting quality of the surrounding neighborhood while simultaneously maintaining a sense of intimacy. An expansive exhibition kitchen that puts high-end pizza ovens and Chef Robinson’s artisanship on full display encourages engagement among the audience, while subdued lighting, floor-to-ceiling windows and sleek sculptural elements – including a striking, copper “veil” suspended from the ceiling and a prominent liquor tower – offer staple gathering places and earn the admiration of passersby as they stroll down 7th Street. Adjacent to the bar, guests will also find the Arizona Room, a communal, flexible space inspired by the Southwest’s canyons and cliff walls and the screened-in porch concept commonly featured in homes in the region that features an elevated, oversized living wall adorned with lush greenery and an integrated screen displaying stunning footage of the desert landscape, anchoring the space with a high-tech embodiment of nature.
In contrast with its ground-level counterpart, Skysill Rooftop Lounge soars above the city on the hotel’s 18th floor, making it the highest open-air rooftop bar in town. Open Monday – Thursday for standard hours from 5 to 10 p.m., with extended hours Friday – Sunday, the chic rooftop bar offers a hip, relaxing escape during the daytime with its rooftop pool, jacuzzi, daybeds and cabanas, and large video screen overlooking the vast metropolitan Phoenix area. As the sun sets over the mountain horizon, it then transitions to a luxurious lounge where all levels of service and experience are elevated.
Catering to both the leisure weekend traveler and locals in search of a scenic retreat for respite, the Skysill rooftop bar features a rotating menu of flirty craft cocktails that appeal to those who appreciate a break from the status quo, like that of the Arizona Collins, made with aperol, Chareau aloe liqueur, Mionetto prosecco and dehydrated grapefruit; and the Cactus Spritz, made with Hanson Meyer lemon vodka, Reàl Blue Agave nectar, fresh lemon juice and Fever-Tree bitter lemon tonic water.
With the kickoff of football season at ASU, the terrace bar now hosts weekly game-day tailgates. An extended lineup of seasonal events will soon be announced – from fashion shows across the pool deck to NFL watch parties gathered around the video wall, holiday celebrations and more – alongside the rollout of a fully curated menu of shareable plates and light bites courtesy of Chef Robinson.
Terra Tempe and Skysill Rooftop Lounge are located within The Westin Tempe, owned and developed by CAI Investments and managed by Crescent Hotels & Resorts. As the latest addition to the city’s bustling corridor, the restaurants are just steps from some of the area’s best shopping, dining, nightlife and entertainment destinations, plus local landmarks like Tempe Town Lake and “A” Mountain (Hayden Butte). For more information or to book a reservation, please visit TerraTempe.com and SkysillRooftop.com.