Peter Kasperski returns to the valley’s dining scene with Character

2020 brought many surprises good and bad to the valley’s dining scene. One of the biggest surprises was the return of restaurateur Peter Kasperski in December. He and valley mixologist Richie Moe III have again joined forces to open Character Distinctive Dining in the Roosevelt Arts District. The two have known each other for over 30 years going back to their days in Chicago when Moe’s father was Kasperski’s mentor.

Moe helped Kasperski open Cowboy Ciao in the 1990s then Kazmierz Wine Bar before they went their separate ways. Moe had gone on to open and run cocktail programs at Citizen Public House, The Gladly and Bourbon and Bones. Kasperski has been lying low the last few years plotting his next move since he closed Cowboy Ciao.

Photo courtesy of Modern Vision Media

Downtown Phoenix’s Character Distinctive Dining is a classic American dinner house with cuisines from around the world made using modern cooking techniques. Kasperski’s love for eclectic wines and Moe’s inventive cocktail list have also made their way downtown from Scottsdale. Some will see similarities with Cowboy Ciao especially the popular dinner events. One of those events is the monthly Somm Showdown with Peter Kasperski and a local wine sommelier go head to head picking the best pairings for a five-course dinner. The first Somm Showdown is Sunday January 24th 2021 with Synergy Fine Wines’ Steve Cannon. Seating is limited to 30 people and dinner is $90 ++ per person.

The pair are also opening Alias, a speakeasy, later this year out back of Character. Three nights a week Moe and Chef Justin “Red” Hauska will create mixology/gastronomy dinners pairing cocktails and food with science and surprises. After dinner starting at 9 p.m. Alias will become a craft cocktail bar until 2 a.m.

Character / Alias is at 218 E Portland St. Phoenix, AZ 85004. For more information check their website, Facebook and Instagram.

 

Plant based GuacStar Kitchen to open first location in Tempe

One of the biggest trends in 2019 was plant based foods and soon the first plant based restaurant in Arizona will open in Tempe. When GuacStar Kitchen and Cantina opens near ASU at University & Rural Roads it will be a one of a kind eating, drinking and entertaining restaurant.

Partners James Carlin, Tom Cerino, Randy Feldman, Suzanne Davis and Julie LaRussa look to re-define plant based restaurants with an upbeat and hip concept found in N.Y.C and L.A. “GuacStar’s goal is very simple – to show the masses that you don’t have to sacrifice your taste buds or your wallets by eating plant-based cuisine,” said Carlin, GuacStar co-owner. “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.”

Executive Chef Vincent Contreras has created plant based versions of classic Mexican cooking. The full-service restaurant will also have a beer, wine and cocktail program.

GuacStar Kitchen and Cantina will have a contemporary decor with soft lighting, raw materials and a warm, inviting atmosphere. The restaurant will be open for lunch, dinner, weekend brunch and late night dining.

GuacStar Kitchen and Cantina will be at the Cornerstone Mall at 930 E. University Dr. Tempe 85281.