Written by Angela Muniz
Photos by Mark Lipczynski
Just south of the bustle of Arizona State University Tempe Campus and downtown Tempe, an eye-catching pineapple sculpture is perched on a Mill Avenue wall, turning heads and peaking curiosity. A beacon to foodies and craft drink lovers alike, the icon marks the spot of a new restaurant and cocktail bar nestled in Tempe’s Broadmor neighborhood.
The Golden Pineapple is the latest craft lounge from the beverage team of Justin Evans and Tony Fatica. A sister concept to their three popular Valley bars—The Wandering Tortoise near the Biltmore, The Theodore in downtown Phoenix, and The Sleepy Whale in downtown Chandler—it is the first to offer the full trifecta of food, beer and cocktails.
The duo, along with co-owner and operator Todd Oltmann, has renovated the historic restaurant space to create an open-air flow between patio, bar and dining room. With a welcoming shade tree that creates an oasis-like atmosphere beyond the pineapple-adorned gates, Oltmann says the lounge has quickly become the neighborhood destination they hoped for.
“It was the right location at the right time,” he says. “We had a lot of foot traffic coming in even before we opened [for full service]. We’re excited to be part of Tempe.”
Chef Dell Morris, who earned his culinary chops at the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale, leads the Pineapple kitchen and has created a menu of Baja Mexican-style foods with a Sonoran Desert twist. Offering everything from bar bites and dinner entrees, the menu is filled with dishes showcasing ingredients from local purveyors—Schreiner’s Fine Sausage, Hayden Flour Mills, and Frites Street, among them.
Gluten-free corn cakes with raspberry, lime, berry compote and almonds, drizzled with mezcal maple syrup; and tamales with red chili pork or green corn have become weekend brunch staples. Oltmann also says the tamale fries—steak cut slices of tamale, fried and topped with chorizo, queso sauce and pickled onion—are the sell-out hit for any occasion.
On the bar menu, drinks like the Imposter Syndrome that mix mezcal with a base of pineapple cilantro jalapeño juice reflect beverage director Adam Fought’s attention to detail and artisan ingredients. All juices, sodas and fusions are made in-house from scratch—a touch that makes classic cocktails like the Paloma with house-made grapefruit soda, all the more special.
Like its sister concepts, the restaurant and cocktail bar has a grab-and-go cooler well-stocked with craft beers, its own packaged cocktails and other drinks. Everything in the cooler can be purchased to enjoy in the restaurant or to take away—making The Golden Pineapple Tempe’s newest go-to spot.
The Golden Pineapple
2700 S. Mill Ave., Tempe | (480) 590-5703