Chef Mattie's Monkey at Monkey Burger.

James Gregg / Arizona Daily Star 2010

There is one less burger joint in downtown Tucson.

Monkey Burger, the gourmet hamburger restaurant that was at the forefront of Tucson’s most recent burger infatuation, closed its downtown location last weekend after its landlord sold the building at 47 N. Sixth Ave.

Fletcher McCusker, who owns Monkey Burger with several partners, said the new owners plan to completely renovate the 100-year-old-plus former hotel.

The downtown restaurant was the second outpost of Monkey Burger, which introduced itself in early 2009 with a modest restaurant at 5350 E. Broadway. The downtown location opened two years later, in early 2011 — one of the first burger-centered eateries along the East Congress Street corridor. Downtown is now home to several burger restaurants, including Eat A Burger and Diablo Burger.

Chas Karakey, general manager of the Broadway Monkey Burger, said the downtown restaurant had been struggling over the past several months.

“It’s not necessarily a bad thing that downtown closed,” he said Monday.

But McCusker said that with The Cadence student housing project opening this month,” I think we would have hung in there.”

McCusker said he and his partners have no immediate plans to open another Monkey Burger. For now, “you’ll see the (Monkey Burger) food truck around more while we kind of rethink where the next location might be,” he said.

“I would love to be downtown, but if you look at the restaurants that have opened … they are world-class,” he added, mentioning Saint House Rum Bar, Proper and Penca by name. “They are really doing major renovations and that make the rents much more expensive.”

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642.

I cover music for the Arizona Daily Star.