The guy who seemingly wins all of Tucson's culinary competitions, Ryan Clark, is leaving the Lodge on the Desert to take over Agustin Kitchen (formerly Agustin Brasserie, which answers the question "What on earth is going on with that place?"). Clark, who also has a cookbook coming out this week, will launch the new look of the Mercado San Agustin restaurant space in four to six weeks after what the press release calls "selective remodeling and refurnishing."
The press release is below the cut.
Our new Nosher noted not too long ago that Beyond Bread's Campbell location filed an application to serve liquor in an attempt to stir up business in the evenings.
For those who can't be bothered to look at the picture at right, Beyond Bread's beer list is all craft, all the time, with local representation from Dragoon Brewing's Stronghold Session Ale and Barrio Brewing's Tucson Blonde, as well as Chandler-based SanTan Brewing's Hefeweizen Wheat Ale. Left Hand's Milk Stout Nitro, Bell's Brewery's Two Hearted Ale and Goose Island's 312 Urban Wheat round out the list.
As for the fermented grape drink, Beyond Bread is offering A22 Pino Grigio, District 7 Chardonnay, Copain Pinot Noir and a Cabernet Sauvignon from a vineyard whose name I regrettably forgot to write down.
Good news: Each beer is only $4.50 per glass. Better news: They'll fill to-go growlers for you right there at the shop for 12 bucks.
I haven't yet taken advantage of the opportunity, as I didn't have my growler handy when I last went into Beyond Bread (truly a mistake on my part), but I plan on doing so at some point soon, seeing as Beyond Bread is (to my knowledge) the closest place to my little corner of Tucson to offer growler fills.
No word yet on whether or not Beyond Bread is planning to sell fermentables at their other locations, but i can't imagine they'd pass up on the possibility if this goes well.
Great news from noted food site Deadspin: the chimichanga, which is still, criminally, not Arizona's official state dish, is better than the unofficial state dishes of 32 other states (take that, Utah's "green Jell-O with goddamn carrots in it").
However, that also means that 17 other states have better unofficial state dishes than we do. While I can live with the idea that Kansas City and Memphis style ribs (tied for 15th) might be better than our chimichanga (let's be honest with ourselves, ribs are delicious), but the Mission-style burrito (3rd for California)? ALL THEY DID WAS ADD RICE. Two chili dogs? (Rhode Island, 11th; West Virginia, 17th) I like chili dogs as much as any human being alive, but we're talking about a burrito (delicious already) that gets FRIED then more delicious stuff is put ON TOP. This is how all delicious things are made.
Clearly, some of the stink from our state's previous antics were factored into the decision:
Somebody dropped a burrito into a deep-fryer and out came Arizona's signature food, which no one in Arizona eats, because half the people in Arizona are too old for solid foods, and the rest are on the run from white-supremacist paramilitary border militias.
I would eat a chimichanga every day if I could, and yes, I probably should be looking over my shoulder for those militias, but if I go out eating a chimi, that would be almost as bad-ass as lying on the floor of a meth lab while a Badfinger song plays. We all have to live with our choices.
We can't necessarily fix the bias of internet blogger types, but we can restart the campaign to get the chimi named the state's official food. Someone convince Ray from El Charro to hire Jonathan Paton as a lobbyist. It's time to get this taken care of.
Calling the now-closed Cocina de Gabby an "exceptional" restaurant even in the same breath as Chicago's multi-Michelin-starred Alinea seems insane, but hey, it's still cool that Gabrielle and Francisco Martinez, the couple behind the former North First Avenue Mexican restaurant, are featured in a documentary. Spinning Plates, set to hit theaters on Oct. 25, looks at three restaurants and the struggles of their owners to adapt to various types of change and difficulty. Based on the trailer, it would appear the conflict featured for Cocina de Gabby is their struggle to draw customers, a problem mentioned in our review of the place back in 2011 as well.
The film doesn't currently have a scheduled screening in Tucson, but we'll let you know if something comes up.
We noted yesterday that Mr. K's Barbecue on Stone and River closed this weekend after little more than a year in operation.
Rhonda Kendrick, an owner of the business and daughter of Charles Kendrick (the eponymous Mr. K) was emotional when she told The Range about the restaurant's closure, which was caused by the folding of Ironwood Dining, the management company that oversaw the day-to-day operations of Mr. K's.
"It's hard," Kendrick said. "When this restaurant opened, you know, it caused a rift in the family with my brother Raymond (owner of the Original Mr. K's Barbecue, located at 6302 S. Park Ave.) that thankfully we've been able to heal."
The worst part is seeing the effect it had on her father and the restaurant's employees.
"We were able to build this, and to realize his dream, and to see it close like this hurts," she said. "Not just for my dad or me, but for our employees. They became family. We had an amazing team, so no matter where they go, they're going to be great. As a business owner, you affect people's lives and their families, and you want to make sure that they're taken care of."
She said her dad inspired her to open the restaurant.
"This was my dedication to him," she said. "I happy that he was able to see this come to life, and we're moving forward toward the future."
Richard Yellot of Ironwood Dining said the closure was "pretty much the same old story of business and economics. You can't run a business if you can't make a profit...and we couldn't make enough to keep the doors open. We tried, and I thought we had Tucson's best barbecue, but we just couldn't make enough money to make it work. … The person I feel the worst for is Mr. K himself. This was a dream of his, and even though it didn't turn out as well as we hoped, at least he got to have it for a little while."
Kendrick said that the restaurant will continue to honor its commitments, with help from her brother.
"I know that whatever struggles we had in the beginning, for our family, I want to direct all of our business to Raymond and I want for him to do well," she said.
Sad news for Tucson barbecue fans as the Mr. K's on Stone and River closed Sunday.
From their Facebook page:
It was a difficult decision and is with a heavy heart that we inform all our friends and guests that Sunday October 13, 2013 was our last day of business at Mr. K’s Barbeque - River & Stone
We would like to thank all of Tucson for entrusting us with your special events and celebrations.
We are grateful to our loyal employees, many who were with us when our doors opened. You were not only part of our team but also became part of our family.
The quest for great BBQ does not end here ... Please visit and enjoy the Original Mr.K’s BBQ at 6302 S. Park Ave.
Eater.com, like any good click-baiting website, likes to crank out list after list, but hey, at least they don't make you click a hundred things and when something from Tucson makes one of those lists? Hurray!
Their new 24 hottest pizzerias list included the newest location of Pizzeria Bianco (with the Tucson location likely to make whatever version of the list comes out after January 2014), but also Falora, complete with a somewhat meaningless blurb from the Star:
Earlier this year, Tucson restaurateur Ari Shapiro launched what the Arizona Daily Star wrote is "what some may consider his most ambitious restaurant project." Falora Pizza & Espresso serves Neapolitan-style pies such as the margherita, bianca, uovo, and more out of a brick oven. It has been hot ever since.
If you'd like to revisit our review (which includes the far more interesting blurb "I have to admit up front that I was secretly rooting for Falora to succeed. And I'm happy to say that, on most fronts, it has."), click here.
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