Dennis Delamater of The Post on Turning a Hotel Restaurant Into a Dining Destination
Lauren Saria Chef Dennis Delamater of The Post.
The Post at Crowne Plaza Phoenix Airport
In January, after almost a year of renovations, the Crowne Plaza Phoenix Airport hotel unveiled a new name, look, and a dining outlet, The Post. The ambitious and expensive project aimed to turn the airport hotel into a more boutique destination -- complete with its own dining destination.
Chef Dennis Delamater, who joined the hotel in October 2013, is the man behind the restaurant's transformation.
"I've been a restaurant chef my whole life and I think that's really what they wanted," he says.
Delamater's been cooking in the Valley since 1987 and has experience in nearly every aspect of the business. For eight years he owned and cooked at The Citrus Cafe in Chandler, a fine dining French restaurant. He got out of the restaurant in 2007 and went on to help to open the Estate House, though at that time Delamater took a job in the front of the house as dining room manager. From there went into catering for several years and also spent time cooking at Franco's Trattoria.
Most recently, the chef was at Talking Stick Resort. But the job wasn't a long-term fit, Delamater says, more about getting his foot in the door of the hotel chef scene.
Lauren Saria Inside The Post restaurant.
When the position at restaurant opened, Delamater jumped.
"It's taken all my years of experience," he says of the job.
The biggest challenge The Post faces right now is trying to attract a local dining crowd while still managing to appeal to the hotels main type of guest: tourists.
"I had to keep it a little mainstream," the chef concedes. "But they were willing to let me experiment."
The restaurant serves three meals a day with a different menu for each. Delamater says he tried to blend his classic French-style of cooking with the Southwestern influences that many out-of-towners crave. And that's while still trying to offer food that locals will want to come and try. The result is a menu that included some familiar faces, but also a few more intriguing gems. Think, Southwest Ceasar salad but also Grilled Quail and Waffle.
For those who knew and loved the chef when he was at The Citrus Cafe, there's good news. Delamater has carried over a few of the most popular offerings from the now defunct restaurant including the Pistachio Chicken and frozen version of a French dacquoise.
"I would just love to have locals coming in," Delamater says. "Like the good old days, when the nice place to go out was at the hotels."