MULTIMEDIA SPECIAL: Dealing with the heatThursday, June 28, 2012 By Larry Wayman, Ben Sellers and Chad Renning
When the Squash Blossom opens in a few weeks, it will be the first restaurant venture for Carrie Lester. But her work in the food industry goes back more than 15 years, she said. Her family’s Lester's Catering Co. has provided school lunches throughout the Phoenix and Mesa area for nearly three decades, according to the company website. The Squash Blossom’s menu, focusing on breakfast, brunch and burgers, may seem a bit different from the cafeteria fare that the Lesters’ catering business supplies. “We’re trying to work with the public markets, the farmers,” said Lester. “Fresh and local produce and food as much as possible, and work with the community is our plan.” The ambiance will also be a big change. Lester said she hopes patrons will flock to the brick patio, lined with red and yellow sails, plants and a mister system to keep things cool. Yet, the interior is equally inviting, with colorful acrylic paintings from Kelly Bowman of Rolling Horse Studio. Already, the Squash Blossom has been building up buzz in downtown Phoenix’s Evans Churchill neighborhood via its Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook pages. Located in the old PastaBAR, at the corner of N. First and E. Pierce streets in a complex that also includes a sushi place and an Irish bar, the restaurant will add a unique touch to the block. “We love downtown,” said Lester.