“We wanted to bring plant-based dining to the masses,” explains James Carlin, consultant on the new GuacStar Kitchen and Cantina restaurant, which opened recently in Tempe at 920 E. University Drive.
Carlin, along with partners Suzanne Davis, Julie LaRussa, Tom Cerino, and Randy Feldman, aims to redefine the plant-based category by creating a dining experience typically associated with that of hip mainstream restaurants found in cities like New York or Los Angeles.
“[We want to show] that you don’t have to sacrifice your taste buds or your wallets by eating plant-based cuisine,” Carlin says. “Our mission is to make healthy food sexy and to create an exciting, unpretentious plant-based dining destination where the overall experience counts just as much as the food.”
The 4,650-square-foot restaurant and bar offers plant-based versions of Mexican comfort food classics, including the Enchiladas de Calabacitas (roasted squash and zucchini, house rojo sauce, house verde sauce, cashew crema, cotija) and the Grilled Guac Pocket (queso, poblano pinto beans, pico de gallo, mozzarella, Anaheim chile, Impossible Meat blend, red enchilada sauce, crunchy corn tortilla, wrapped in grilled flour tortilla, house guacamole, avocado crema). Sides include Elote, Achiote Rice, and Cauliflower al Pastor.
Of course, says Carlin, “While the food is amazing and unlike anything in Arizona, we are [also] extremely proud of our bar program. We want people to come in and try our specialty margaritas and signature agave cocktails because they are so innovative and unique that we think people will absolutely love them.”
The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner, as well as weekend brunch and late-night dining.
“GuacStar is a restaurant for everyone,” Carlin says. “It was not created just for people who eat plant-based. Extraordinary Mexican comfort food and artisan cocktails in a sexy stylish environment will appeal to anyone looking to party like a GuacStar!”
For more information, visit www.guacstar.com.