Watch out, wild westerners: there's a new steakhouse in town, accented with Italian flare. Classic Spaghetti Western Steakhouse in Tucson's Bronx Park neighborhood starting serving fresh-made pasta and steakhouse specialties last week.
As you enter Classic, you're stared down by John Wayne and Clint Eastwood (both illustrated by local artist Danny Martin) and you're likely to hear the unmistakable The Good, the Bad and the Ugly soundtrack music of Ennio Morricone in the background.
And the food? Old-school comfort food—steakhouse cuts, a meaty Bolognese sauce, calamari, saltimbocca—with a modern twist.
"We are taking classic recipes and putting in huge flavors," said head chef Andrew Larkin. "It's like grandma's food but elevated."
Not only do the bright caprese salads and steaming steaks keep to the theme of an Italian steakhouse, the restaurant space itself fits the bill as well. Black tablecloths, wine colored napkins and walls, wooden columns and a dark bar give the space the aura of an old school Italian joint where you know the pasta is going to be superb.
"The bones of this space really fit the concept," said creative director Kade Mislinski, who worked with owners Joey Medina and David Musso to evoke the spirit of the classic spaghetti Western movies. Traditionally, the movies' exterior scenes were shot in Spain, said Mislinski, so the outside of the restaurant has been kept in the original Spanish Colonial style of the building built in 1978. The interior scenes of the movies were shot in Rome, so the interior of the restaurant puts the Italian in spaghetti western.
The wine and spirits list also holds true to the theme. The wine list takes inspiration from the Fox restaurant North Italia and the beer includes a specially crafted brew called "Classic."
Patrons can also expect live music on weekend, including regular sets by Hey Bucko, a local instrumental spaghetti western band.
"We don't want to be special occasion," Mislinski said. "We want to be classic, a neighborhood restaurant where families can come hang out and their kids can be well taken care of. It's a little Old Tucson for the kids. They can have fun so that their parents can have a good time."
Classic Spaghetti Western Steakhouse, 1535 N. Stone Ave., is open daily for dinner from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. The bar will be open until midnight on weeknights and 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.