Chef O’Dowd to head Yucatan-inspired Las Palmas Cantina

Julian Wright of Tempe’s Pedal Haus Brewery is opening a new restaurant in downtown Chandler in May. Las Palmas Cantina, 95 W. Boston, is to have the food, drink and relaxed coastal vibe of the Mexican Riviera.

Chef Michael O’Dowd is returning to Phoenix to lead a sand-to-table menu that he describes as “Yucatan-inspired cuisine with an emphasis on coastal dishes,” according to a release.

Las Palmas Cantina is hiring up to 40 front and back of house positions. Those interested can apply in person at 95 W. Boston or online at

After annual trips to Mexico exploring beach towns such as Playa Del Carmen and Tulum, Mr. Wright had been looking for the best place to bring all the elements of the culture and lifestyle of this tropical region to his next concept.

The 5,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor Las Palmas Cantina will have two bars and two patios including an elevated deck area reminiscent of the region’s beach-side cafes. With the addition of garage-style doors in the front and back of the building, it will be possible to see from Boston Street to the elevated back patio, according to the release.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of downtown Chandler and to bringing one of my favorite regions of the world to this community,” Mr. Wright said in the release. “ I love that Chandler is still very independent. Everyone is still very much your neighbor.”

Chef Michael O’Dowd. (Submitted photo)

Chef O’Dowd is known as a culinary maverick who has created award-winning menu programs that celebrate authentic ingredients from indigenous cultures. As the driving force behind the culinary concepts for Kai at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa, he was the first to merge Native American ingredients with global accents and earn Kai Arizona’s only AAA Five Diamond & Forbes Five Star award, according to the release.

Most recently, Chef O’Dowd served as the executive chef at L’Auberge de Sedona.

“I haven’t really seen anyone in Arizona exploring this type of cuisine or region,” Chef O’Dowd said in the release. “Being able to learn about the culture and history of the Mayans and create a way to pay homage to the past while creating new ideas, dishes and flavors is what I thrive on.”

Chef O’Dowd is focusing the menu and mindset on “sand-to-table” that harvests from the sea to the high country. The menu will include lighter dishes, shared plates and street-style bites. Chef O’Dowd is working with local boutique purveyors such as Chula Seafood for a range of ceviches that will highlight tropical flavors but also have hints of curries and gingers.

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