Saturday, April 17, 2010

It's Official: Janos Takes Over Barrio Spot

Posted By on Sat, Apr 17, 2010 at 1:40 PM

The rumors that Janos Wilder would be taking over the old Barrio Food and Drink space are no longer rumors.

Here's the news release:

Janos Returns To Downtown

Janos and Rebecca Wilder announced this afternoon that they are returning to downtown Tucson to open a new restaurant in the site of the former Barrio Grill at 135 South Sixth Avenue in the SoCo (south of Congress) district. The Wilder’s, who own Janos and J BAR on the grounds of the Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa, began their Tucson restaurant career in 1983 when they first opened Janos Restaurant in the former Hiram Stevens house on the grounds of the Tucson Museum of Art.

“This is coming full circle for us.” Wilder commented, “We’re inspired by the opportunity to return to our downtown roots and to be a part of the renaissance taking place there. We couldn’t be more excited to be opening a new restaurant downtown.”

The new, as yet unnamed restaurant will be located in The Odd Hall, a 1914 era building built by prominent architect, Henry Jaastadt whom also designed Tucson High School and the original

El Conquistador Hotel. In 2002, the current owners restored the building’s facade based on the original Jaastadt drawings. “We are returning to another significant, historic building where we will create a modern urban restaurant. We want to express through food, service and ambiance the optimism we hold for downtown Tucson and the love we have for cooking foods that resonate with flavor, excitement and a sense of place.” Janos enthused.

A complete remodel will begin shortly with preliminary plans calling for shifting the entrance from the side of the building to its front where they will also have outdoor seating. The interiors will be redesigned by Miguel Fuentevilla and Sonya Sotinsky, the principles in Tucson’s ForsArchitecture and Interiors who have created numerous restaurant spaces most notably working on many of the projects for Fox Restaurant Group.

The restaurant will join long-time tenant, Etherton Gallery, one of the premiere art and photography galleries in the region in the building. The buildings owners, photographer Tim Fuller and sculptor Barbara Grygutis, both have their studios in the building as well.

Janos Wilder has a long and prominent history in the Tucson Culinary scene. When Janos opened almost thirty years ago it immediately received national attention for its unique menus blending the ingredients of the southwest with sophisticated French cooking techniques. One of the first chefs in the country to rediscover the values of working with local growers, Chef Wilder also informed his menus with indigenous ingredients that have been growing here for over 5000 years.

Over the years the restaurant and the chef have received national and international acclaim for its trend-setting cuisine and the chef was given the prestigious James Beard Award as the Top Chef in the Southwest by the organization in 2000. In recent years Wilder has been nominated as one of the top 20 chefs in the country by the James Beard Foundation and has received numerous other local and national awards.

The new restaurant, about 3700 square feet, will serve lunch, dinner and late night, and will feature a full bar and bar menu. When fully staffed, the restaurant will employ between 40-50 full and part-time employees.

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