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'Top Chef' star opens contemporary Southwestern restaurant in Phoenix

 Tía Carmen opens in the Desert Ridge area.
Posted at 4:55 PM, May 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-20 20:08:47-04

PHOENIX — Angelo Sosa, star of “Top Chef”, debuts his first Arizona restaurant, Tía Carmen, inside the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa.

The Southwestern eatery goes beyond vibrant drinks and dishes — it pays homage to the region with local Arizona partnerships embedded and showcased throughout the space.

Angelo Sosa at Tía Carmen.

The concept of Tía Carmen hits home for the Executive Chef, Angelo Sosa.

“At nine years old, my tía Carmen taught me the beauty and the power that food holds,” said Sosa to ABC15.

DISHES TO DEVOUR
Although the dishes are Southwestern-inspired, Chef Sosa hopes that the dinners feel like “tía Carmen is in the back” cooking and that their taste buds trigger a memory from the past and create a new one at the restaurant.

Left to right: Tuna crudo, Tri-Tip Kabob, Wagyu Tomahawk Ribeye, Lamb Ragu with Mesquite Noodles, and Avocado Aguachili.
Left to right: Tuna crudo, Tri-Tip Kabob, Wagyu Tomahawk Ribeye, Lamb Ragu with Mesquite Noodles, and Avocado Aguachili.

Some of their most popular items include Tuna crudo, Tri-Tip Kabob, and the Ember Roasted Purple Yam.

“LOCALIZATION”
The restaurant pays homage to the Southwest through the partnership of local businesses in the Valley; like meats from Schreiner's in Phoenix, vegetables from their own garden at the resort, and custom dinner plates made by Blue Door Ceramics.

Inside Tía Carmen

“The terrane, the tenure, with Christiane plates [from Blue Door Ceramics]… it’s almost as if mother nature took her hand and literally grabbed the Southwest and brought it to the table… and all we’re doing is serving food on that,” said Sosa.

TÍA CARMEN
The renowned chef grew up in a Dominican-Italian household in Connecticut.

It was at the young age of 9 that Sosa was inspired by his Dominican tía (aunt) Carmen in the kitchen.

Sosa recalls to ABC15 that when his family visited his aunt and his siblings would run through the house to go outside, he instead would pull up a barstool and watch his aunt cook.

“When it was time to eat in this massive banquet, as everyone would start eating my tía wouldn’t even touch her plate until she heard the joy, the laughter, and just the harmony in [the] room,” said Sosa in an interview with ABC15. “In that moment I knew if this is what love is, you know kindness, joy, laughter through food & that’s the power of food… this is what I want to do.”

IF YOU GO

  • 5350 East Marriott Drive in Phoenix
  • Breakfast: 7-11 a.m. daily
  • Dinner: 5-9 p.m. Sunday - Thursday
  • Dinner: 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday