I am a 34 year old essentially Tucson Native. I moved here at the age of 4 and have lived in the downtown area for most of that time. I grew up on Granada and 6th, then for middle school moved to 1st ave just behind the buffet. In my adult life I have always lived walking distance to congress. I will say this, most of the downtown "scene" is people not from downtown, or people who even live there, but they love it none the less and I give them props for supporting most of my jobs with their patronage. I cooked at Grill for over three years and I can tell you this much, everything you said is kind of true, but why? It certainly didn't start a business to fail, in fact when Forsythe took over from Graham in the early years it was making profit right off the bat. Slow summers sometimes saw the taking out of loans but nothing too bad, the big problem was the building was being fought left and right from condemnation. So much money went in to the plumbing, improvements etc there was little actual profit to be had. The Forsythes both actually had to have other jobs to live, Patrick eventually joining the Navy. I will tell you this much, that man had passion for his restaurant, he was steadfast on keeping it the way it was, nearly everything was home-made, and the regulars kept that place a float. But as do many things it slowly went the way of the buffalo, there really was no stopping it. But other than a filler afterthought Grill is not what this piece is about. This piece is about gentrification.
I don;t pretend to know about the keep Tucson shitty scene I am just a local and a long time resident. I know plenty of people but don;t tend to get sucked in to the whole hipster subcategory, but of our hipsters I will give them this, they aren't out buying $15 martinis on the regular and flooding our streets with money pushing out the locals, that is the cities doing. Unlike the hipsters of New York, ours won't buy a PBR for over $2, most want cheap drinks and friends and nothing more. It isn't a "scene" like you see on TV it is a collective of art crazy, fun kids.
We have to face some facts, Tucson is a transient and immigrant city, not to say homeless people and foreigners, but college students and military. Most of the cities time the military kept to the suburbs and the University students rarely strayed further than 4th avenue. Now what is happening is Tucson is trying to create a vibrant downtown, which hey in theory I am all for, I like options. But what will the cost be. Soon every place willing to charge $20 for a burger and $8 for a local craft beer will be willing to wait on a lease to be up and pounce on it (this is what will likely happen to The District in 2 years) which makes me sad, because I don't want to have to travel for my local stuff. What makes it even sadder is when those places will still employ the same kids working for at best $9 an hour who can now no longer afford to live or play in this downtown but rather will travel and live in the suburbs. We have some good local spots that offer slightly higher than mid tier dining and frankly we don't need much more. All the newer local spots are still somewhat affordable for occasional treats and then there is still the place for every day gathering. So I say finish your damn streetcar, protect the existing businesses, and keep Tucson Shitty (whatever that means).
What a complete disaster, and furthermore ridiculous waste of money.
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