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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Feature

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

7 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

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

Don't worry folks, somewhere in the great Quantum universe of bending light, the Grill is still there, waiting for customers. The coffee was good, the kitchen wildly inconsistent. Whatever happened to Rachel the waitress who went back east. Oh well.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/18171509@N00/250212088/in/set-72157594295790903/

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by John F on 08/07/2014 at 9:52 AM

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

It was a place of comfort to me and my girls. We would drop in at all hours. When there was a romance problem, I would gather the girls together and we would console, eat tots and drink a milkshake. I would have a super bowl of Captain Crunch at midnight to keep me going. We would go just to sit and watch the world go by while fighting the flies at the window booth. The flies liked it by the windows. My wife and I would hang at the doorway of the Red Room and listen to the music. The room was usually packed and it was easier to listen outside of the room. It was easy to be there.

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Bob Rodriguez on 08/07/2014 at 7:58 AM

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

Negative comments though there may be to make, Grill was a place for artists, musicians, night owls, homeless people, theater goers, high school kids with no place to go after school, high school drop outs, certain college kids, wanna-be lovers, gays, lesbians, transgendered people, general freaks, drunks, just regular people and everyone in between to go any time of day, all together, downtown, when there was no other. It struggled to survive in a decrepit building with shitty landlords and no funding or streetcar to bring in crowds of people. It was there for you, though it might not have been perfect, and it was magical for many. Try to recreate that now-all classes, ages, genders, and lifestyles smooshed together in one grungy, funky, oasis in the place we once knew as desolate, downtown Tucson, and you never could. Shut your pieholes, haters. You just don't understand.

6 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Etoile Ofthesea on 08/07/2014 at 12:47 AM

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

So nice I'll say it twice! Sorry for the typo!

3 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Etoile Ofthesea on 08/07/2014 at 12:04 AM

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

Negative comments though there may be to make, Grill was a place for artists, musicians, night owls, homeless people, theater goers, high school kids with no place to go after school, high school drop outs, certain college kids, wanna-be lovers, gays, lesbians, transgendered people, general freaks, drunks, just regular people and everyone in between to go any time of day, all together, downtown, when there was no other. It struggled to survive in a decrepit building with shitty landlords and no funding or streetcar to bring in crowds of people. It was there for you, though it might not have been perfect, and it was magical for many. Try to recreate that now-all classes, ages, genders, and lifestyles smooshed together in one grungy, funky, oasis in the place we once knew asNegative comments though there may be to make, Grill was a place for artists, musicians, night owls, homeless people, theater goers, high school kids with no place to go after school, high school drop outs, certain college kids, wanna-be lovers, gays, lesbians, transgendered people, general freaks, drunks, just regular people and everyone in between to go any time of day, all together, downtown, when there was no other. It struggled to survive in a decrepit building with shitty landlords and no funding or streetcar to bring in crowds of people. It was there for you, though it might not have been perfect, and it was magical for many. Try to recreate that now-all classes, ages, genders, and lifestyles smooshed together in one grungy, funky, oasis in the place we once knew as desolate, downtown Tucson, and you never could. Shut your pieholes, haters. You just don't understand.

22 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Etoile Ofthesea on 08/06/2014 at 11:59 PM

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

And NO I am not a David Mendez sockpuppet....if I was a sock or a puppet, I'd be on Terry Trash' hook and claw thingy.

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Missing Limbs of Terry Trash (which ones/) on 08/06/2014 at 7:53 PM

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

Here we go with the 'Keep Tucson Shitty' nostalgia. Yes, remind me again of the last days of a sub par restaurant with inconsistent food quality, lazy hipper than thou asshole waiters, shitty seating, a bathroom door that didn't even close, roaches under your feet and goddamn pissed stained transients talking to L Ron Hubbard on their tinfoil visors at every other booth. Fucking please. This shithole deserved to close because it sucked, plain and simple. I mean, how hard is it to make a BLT or a fucking toasted bagel? How fucking LONG did you have to wait for such an order, more than 90 minutes depending on the speed of whichever uber douche wait staff you happened to suffer to deal with. Hey bitch, can I get my fucking check in the next 30 minutes after I have finished my burned BLT that took you 60 minutes to make, pretty please??? Good riddance to the Grill. Say hello to $15 burgers from Diablo, and deal with the Scottsdale like clubs like HiFi and the douche bag 's'up bruh' clientele they bring. You wanted the best, you got the best, Tucson! Take the streetcar!

13 likes, 18 dislikes
Posted by Missing Limbs of Terry Trash (which ones/) on 08/06/2014 at 7:40 PM

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

Nope.

4 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by David Mendez on 08/06/2014 at 7:13 PM

Re: “GRILL 1994-2011

This is a make up article for this:

http://www.tucsonweekly.com/TheRange/archi…

11 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Matthew Baquet on 08/06/2014 at 6:38 PM

Re: “Rape at the UA

This has been my experience exactly with both UA and TPD. I was told by the Title IX investigator that the fact that I was raped "was a misunderstanding" because "he seemed like a really nice guy".

Posted by Sara Jane on 08/02/2014 at 5:38 PM

Re: “To the Moon

Don't forget the Surveyor moon landers. Soft landings and sent back photos. The Rangers were fun as they hit at a high speed. Remember watching the footage of them zooming into the moon.
Great article!

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Fraser on 08/01/2014 at 6:19 PM

Re: “To the Moon

Great stuff...well done article!!

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by SouthwestLover on 08/01/2014 at 5:13 PM

Re: “A New Billy the Kid?

Way too much mystery for little ol' me! Let's just leave little ol' Billy be - wherever he may be! Wee, wee, wee!

Posted by Jonny Porkchild on 07/28/2014 at 4:03 PM

Re: “Death By Misadventure

I had a class the next year, at Santa Rita High School, with the 15 year-old daughter in this story...Karen. She invited me over to her house once, just off-base at the corner of Mann and Nicaragua. As my hair was starting to grow (this was late 1970), and as I had heard rumblings of this tragedy, I politely declined the invitation. Nearly 44 years later this sad story still resonates.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Blkojo on 07/25/2014 at 9:06 PM

Re: “A New Billy the Kid?

If it wasn't for Geronimo, Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid in NM ....almost an industry!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Billy on 07/25/2014 at 2:40 PM

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