Carefree Resort Raises the Bar for Fine Dining in Carefree with the New Lariat Restaurant and Lounge

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For almost fifty years the Restaurant at the Carefree Inn was the place to see and be seen by Carefree and Cave Creek visitors and residents alike. But over the years the venue had grown stale and the menu uninspired. Now, as part of the resurgent resort's multi-million dollar renovation, the newly designed Lariat Restaurant and Lounge makes its debut in the valley's high-profile restaurant scene.

Larry Goldenthal, VP & General Counsel of Bridlie Hospitality joined by Mayor David Schwan and Resort Manager Candy Scott

"For years the original bar and restaurant at the Carefree Resort was a gathering place for the community. I am confident that the new Lariat will once again be a place where residents and visitors alike can come together" Mayor David Schwan

On a rainy Saturday evening the stars shined brighter than ever at the Carefree Resort & Conference Center's new Lariat Restaurant and Lounge. For over forty years the Restaurant at the Carefree Inn was the place to see and be seen by Carefree and Cave Creek visitors and residents alike. But over the years the venue had grown stale and the menu uninspired. Now, as part of the resurgent resort's multi-million dollar renovation, the newly designed Lariat Restaurant and Lounge makes its debut in the valley's high-profile restaurant scene.

Over 150 people attended the new restaurant’s public opening last Saturday evening. A eclectic mix of artists, hospitality professionals, meeting planners, local business people and some of Carefree’s elite enjoyed the ambiance of the new room and signature items from the Lariat’s new menu. Guests were greeted by a room crafted in warm hues of dark Walnut and copper. For years the venue had been a private dining area for meetings and conventions. Now, as part of the newly designed Lariat Restaurant, the Lariat Lounge flows seamlessly into the resort’s restaurant with easy access to the lobby.

The interior of the new Lariat was the inspiration of designer Krystyn Moroz, president of DTN Design Group. "We wanted to create a room that was bold in design, but still a comfortable place to enjoy an evening." said Krystyn. "We also wanted to pay homage to the original design and architecture of the resort. The Carefree Resort is a landmark in the area. It was very important that the new restaurant respected that heritage and continued to fit into the community. Carefree Mayor David Schwan agrees. "For years the original bar and restaurant at the Carefree Resort was a gathering place for the community. I am confident that the new Lariat Restaurant and Lounge will once again be a place where residents and visitors alike can come together and enjoy everything that the area has to offer. I am very excited about all the changes happening at the Carefree Resort & Conference Center. When the resort thrives, the City of Carefree thrives as well.”

Krystyn Moroz is no stranger to high-profile hospitality projects. Her resumé includes such prestigious clients as the Boulder’s Resort Villas, The Marriot Residence Inn, and the Scottsdale Expo Design Center Showroom. She is currently the lead designer for the Villas at The Village at Carefree and the new Carefree Spa Suites, the upscale two and three bedroom suites at The Carefree Resort opening late summer, 2011.

Not to be outdone by the opening of the new venue, Chef Henry Hopkes and Chef Eugene Knox proudly launched the Lariat Restaurant’s new menu. Created to compete with the powerhouse restaurants in the North Scottsdale, Cave Creek and Carefree marketplace, the new menu holds its own nicely. The menu’s beef and seafood selections use only the freshest ingredients and are defined by a creative blend of flavor marriages and classic Arizona ingredients. Standout dishes include the Miso Glazed Sea Bass, Butter-Poached Lobster Bisque, Wood Fired Brick Oven Atlantic Salmon, Idaho Rainbow Trout Meuniere Almandine, Creole-inspired Sonoran BBQ Prawns and a new selection of Fresh House Salads and Signature Homemade Desserts.

Chef Henry Hopkes has been working at the Carefree Resort since September to develop a menu that redefines the resort as a destination restaurant. “We want every meal here to be an experience. The new menu along with the ambiance of the Lariat’s dining room will make every meal special,” said Hopkes. Chef Hopkes is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, and for eight years was part of the team that created the design, concept and menu inspirations for nationally recognized McCormick & Schmick restaurants. Hopkes collaborated with long-time Executive Chef Eugene Knox to create inventive and distinctive seafood, mixed grill and steak dishes. “It’s one thing to create a menu that can be served to a couple dining in the Lariat Restaurant. It’s quite another thing to serve 400 people at one of our convention events. Every meal we serve at the resort has to be prepared flawlessly.” said Knox. “Chef Hopkes and I have created menu selections that will define the Lariat as one of Arizona’s finest and make the resort’s meals some of the finest in the nation.”

The Carefree Resort & Conference Center has been enjoying a new position in the community since emerging from hard financial times in 2009. "Our goal is to create a unique dining destination for the area," said Edwin Leslie, CEO of Bridlie Hospitality, the operating company that runs the Carefree Resort. “The opening of the Lariat Lounge and the new Lariat Restaurant, combined with the launch of the new menu, puts the resort back on the map as a social scene for the area. The bar is spirited, the restaurant comfortable and the menu exquisite!”

Carefree Resort & Conference Center is a leader in conference services in the Scottsdale, Arizona market. With over 300 guest rooms, Villas and 50,000+ square feet of meeting and convention space, the resort can handle groups from 10 to 3,000.

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Candy Scott