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Comment Archives: stories: Currents: Feature

Re: “Haboob Hootenanny!

All this and a lot more is on the Stonewall Democrats of Arizona page http://stonewalldemsaz.org/candidates.htm

Posted by Robert Rowley on 08/17/2014 at 12:42 PM

Re: “Haboob Hootenanny!

We don't generally run corrections on typos, plus if it were a cover-up, we'd delete the comments referencing the error. Thanks for noticing it and it's fixed.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Dan Gibson on 08/16/2014 at 9:18 AM

Re: “Haboob Hootenanny!

And then the date is changed with no correction notice...bravo!

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by ISawWhatYouDid on 08/15/2014 at 10:59 AM

Re: “La Pistolera

Eva Cruz, Bonnie, was my mother's sister, my aunt. Growing up in California, we rarely visited, but it's interesting to compare the printed 'folklore' from my mother's shared memories.

charlotte sheehan

Posted by Charlotte Sheehan on 08/14/2014 at 5:19 PM

Re: “Haboob Hootenanny!

The primary is Aug. 26.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by maria.taracena on 08/14/2014 at 10:54 AM

Re: “Haboob Hootenanny!

I stopped reading after the incorrect election date in the first sentence.

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by SticklerForDetails on 08/14/2014 at 10:03 AM

Re: “A New Billy the Kid?

A small amount of research shows that John Miller was living in Santa Fe, NM as listed in the 1880 census. His place of birth is Ohio and it shows him working for the railroad. John Miller is most definitely not Billy the Kid.

Posted by johnfranklin on 08/12/2014 at 11:08 AM

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

The food was never ever good at the Grill even before it became an "artists'" hangout. It wasn't great when it was Tom Rawls blue-plate special joint, but then it at least was cheap and honestly 3rd tier -- about as good as downtown got in the 70's. To pretend it was ever anything "damn good eating" is absurd. To think that one could have a decent late night interchange with a server there -- ridiculous ( HUB beware -- even at lunch). We now have an emerging capitalist's downtown. The owners expect us to vote with our money; the servers need to wake up, too.

I'm not buying into "Keep Tucson Shitty", I'm saying demand/reward the new downtown we deserve. Let the merchant princes who respect our money proposer; others, adios. The Old Pueblo may be changing, but the town is still full of swell fair-priced Sonoran Mexican restaurants.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Randall Holdridge on 08/11/2014 at 9:38 PM

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

http://karlenross.blogspot.com/2011/11/so-long-and-thanks-for-all-chicken.html for my thoughts on the subject.

GRILL gave me have 5 years of memories, a business degree, and I am one of several former employees who are currently running some of the most popular Downtown eating establishments. I'm sad it's gone but nothing gives me more joy than knowing almost 3 years have passed and it's still one of the most controversial subjects in Tucson.

Rest In Peace, 100 East.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Karlen Ross on 08/10/2014 at 8:58 PM

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

Grill, 2 days after closing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnkgTt1YGb…

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Richard Trible on 08/09/2014 at 11:56 AM

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

Well, Missing Limbs of Trash said it before I had the chance (with a bit more color than I would have gone with).

I ate at both the Congress Grill and later Grill.

For years now we have been able to read self-congratulatory silliness about the seminal, legendary, no where else to hang downtown *Grill.* Total bullshit. I'd keep my bile to myself but for Graham's choice to trash the perfectly serviceable Congress Grill that came before. He honestly thinks that he "cleaned up and did something nice" with the place? This is what he did: He made the menu a bit pricier, perhaps justified by a marginal upgrade in the raw materials needed to assemble the sandwiches and whatnot. No complaints there. But he then hired a succession of slumming middle-class college students or slumming *would be* college students to play-act the parts of a gritty downtown diner crew. Oh wait, scrub that, they were all brilliant "artists" play-acting the parts of a gritty downtown diner crew.


I enjoyed getting a sandwich or an egg there once in awhile. But when I and my pal had to spend *a bit* too long watching some white, *daringly* tattooed dropout of a waitress *nailed* the role of the gum chewing *authentic gritty downtown diner waitress* while ignoring us so that she could hold court at the counter with her similarly decked-out pals, I walked out without and made it a point to never walk in again. That would have been around 1996 or 97. There were plenty of other places to go downtown then, believe it or not.

6 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by McLovin on 08/09/2014 at 5:35 AM

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

Luke Anable: You were "disparaged"? And you have an English degree from the University of Chicago? Or, were you misquoted?

7 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by severed hand on 08/08/2014 at 8:59 PM

Re: “America's Worst Politicians

Biden, Kerry, Reid, Pelosi, Grijalva, Dingle, Pastor, Wasserman Shultz,Jackson Lee Jackson Jr, ....did you fall asleep too soon?

Or was this meant to try to sway elections?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Rat T on 08/08/2014 at 9:27 AM

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

Love it or hate it, one question remains: if Grill was so important to the fabric of downtown Tucson, if it was that vital to our community, and if we needed a dive eatery that badly, why did nobody get a deal done to buy it? (Besides not wanting to deal with the aforementioned landlords.) And why is it still closed now? It truly was a niche business that catered to a specific subset of those who felt left behind by other establishments, but a sense of community doesn't pay the bills.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by christopher.francis.az on 08/08/2014 at 7:44 AM

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

In case it helps: I believe the Shot in the Dark Cafe is still open, and they are a 24 hour independent restaurant and coffee shop downtown at 121 E Broadway Blvd a few blocks from Hotel Congress.
Here are more: http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/dining-… (yeah, I always trot this five-year-old article out whenever the topic comes up).

I hope Jimmy B's doing well at the newspaper he and Garrett opened in California -- a damn fine eagle-eyed editor (with no disrespect meant to Dan Gibson, I just haven't worked directly with Dan before.)

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by IPH on 08/08/2014 at 7:37 AM

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

I'm a little sad I wasn't contacted for this. Oh well, Grill was a great place, not without its shortcomings however there was nothing downtown worth going to before James and Julia opened this place.
It was dirty and the majority of the waitstaff had terrible attitudes myself included.
Get over it, you still came in for damn tots and milkshakes only to complain later. Where else would you have gone?
At least you had a full belly and lived on the edge for a minute.
When you couldn't smoke anywhere else you could there right?
The music was fun right?
And food was usually pretty good. Hey you can't staff a twenty four place with James Beard award winners in Tucson Arizona.
Mostly it was a refuge for all the great people in Tucson.
We had our share of college kids after the bar and drunken yahoos but the folks that came back again and again made it special.
Shit on it all you want but it was a great place where I made a lot friends and enemies but I loved all the same.
And as far as the history goes, this was a running restaurant from 1916 or something on.
It got renovated a few times in there but it was due for some major work when I started there a long time ago. I met "Gus" Valtaris a few times the guy was great. James Graham has great stories about him.Also the Rallis family that owned it for a time. Little bits of Tucson history that slip away. Gus raised a family with that restaurant, Patrick Forsythe raised a family with that restaurant. There's something to be said about small business owners, Waffle House is great but there's no family involved in that unless you count Bert and his famous chili. Anyway I've been drinking and should stop now.
I still fondly think of my Grill days and sometimes even miss them.
Thank you David Mendez for not calling and I hope you stub your toe.
Matt Davidson

6 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Matthew Davidson on 08/08/2014 at 12:47 AM

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

Well after all of this there was only thing left to do. Go back and check things out and the Red Room survived the fire and now looks like this

https://www.flickr.com/photos/18171509@N00/14670646188/in/set-72157628136085501/

0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by John F on 08/07/2014 at 11:16 PM

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

I am fascinated by the story of the Kims. Can we please have an in-depth article on Wig-O-Rama? How on earth did a WIG STORE survive in downtown Tucson for so many years? What was really going on there?

8 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Rachel W. on 08/07/2014 at 8:59 PM

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

I would love to love this article because this is where I grew up, but I just cannot. In the first few paragraphs the owner basically calls it a shit hole before he owned it. My grandparents put their lives into this restaurant. My dad, my aunt, and even my mom worked their butts off here, I grew up in a pack and play while they waited tables. Does this article mention any of that? The hard work my grandparents did put into that restaurant when it was renovated? The story of my grandparents turning it into The Congress Grill? That my grandparents came to Canada, not knowing a word of English or French and then immigrated to Phoenix before moving to Tucson and pouring their hearts and souls into this restaurant so their children and children's children would have a future and get to go to school? No. I am thankful that it does mention Mrs. Kim (whom they had sold the property to) and how she refused to help make it a better place. In the end, I still cannot respect this article.

15 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by EleniVlastaris on 08/07/2014 at 3:09 PM

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

I'd eaten at the diner that was there before Grill, and it wasn't very good. But I liked it. When James & Julia were opening, I did some freelance design work for them on the menu. I can't claim to have designed it by any means, but I well remember laying it out and thinking, this place will be really cool. Sure enough: it was. I first noticed it was slipping when instead of a nice soft ball of butter for the pancakes, you got a frozen solid sphere that would destroy your pancake. A small detail but somehow I remember being troubled by it.

Like many here I spent plenty of time at Grill. It could be fun, despite waiting desperately for someone to refill my coffee cup. After while, I'd only go involuntarily when my friends insisted. The hostile screed of rules on the menu telling me I couldn't have this or that was off-putting to say the least. What kind of bullshit was that? Patrick Forsythe, was that you? How you could ever have thought that that was a good idea, I don't know. What it told me was: this restaurant is an asshole. It told me I was not wanted there.

Nostalgia is bunk. It makes everything better than it really was. Granted, Grill filled a niche. It was the only option. That's why it could get away with being so shitty (shitty as in awful and bad, not the good kind of Keep Tucson Shitty shitty). I was always baffled when Grill kept winning Best Diner in the Weekly's Best of Tucson. Grill was never a diner, if you subscribe to a diner meaning Good Food, Fast. Grill meant crappy food, slowly with a side of indifference. But Grill's clientele of drunken bar-closers would eat anything and like it. Me, I never got a tuna melt that wasn't stone cold in the middle. I'm not a picky eater, but really: how can you fuck up something so easy?

But all the same, Grill is a slice of Tucson history, worth remembering. I suppose I'll be called a "hater," but I'm just not misty-eyed about it and I can't say I was sorry to see it close. It had run its course and gone way off the rails. Most of the new Downtown is not to my taste; I could go for something Grill-like on Congress. If a Waffle House had opened in its place, I'd be there.

The Red Room, on the other hand: That was lovely. I loved hanging out there in the afternoon watching and listening to Salvador Duran. That, I miss very much.

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by donkiyoti on 08/07/2014 at 11:13 AM

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