Chad's Steakhouse & Saloon, a fixture in Tucson's cowboy steakhouse community for more than two decades, closed Saturday.
Owners Shaun and Sandi Herrington announced the closure on Facebook Sunday, saying they had "possible new ownership in place" to take it over. A message on the restaurant's phone backed that up, saying that Chad's was closed for remodeling and hoped to reopen May 1.
On Tuesday, Shaun Herrington said there was no buyer, although they have had serious discussions to sell the restaurant, building and land at 3001 N. Swan Road. He and his wife have owned Chad's 10 years.
"It's time for us to move on out of the restaurant business," said Herrington, the father of two sons, ages 8 and 14. "It's been a good run. ... But now it's time to focus on (the kids)."
Chad's opened in 1991 and quickly earned a following for being a "cowboy steakhouse and then some," in the words of former Star restaurant critic Colette M. Bancroft. She called the restaurant a red meat lover's paradise serving "the kind of beef that's so good by itself that it would seem sort of sacrilegious to douse it with some gooey steak sauce."
That was a sentiment echoed over the years by critics and diners alike. Readers of Tucson Lifestyle magazine recently rated Chad's the area's third-most-popular steakhouse.
The Herringtons bought Chad's when both were in their mid-20s. "Even through the difficult times, we did remarkably well," he said.
But a kitchen fire last July that resulted in extensive water damage - a sprinkler ran for hours because it was not connected to the alarm, Herrington said - set the couple back.
"Just fighting through all that and after doing everything the city wanted we just kind of looked at each other and said, 'It's time,' " Herrington said. "We obviously were looking down the barrel of another summer. ... It's our biggest dogfight. We decided to go out on a high note."
He said he and his wife have helped many of Chad's 30 employees find new jobs.
Tucson broker Kevin Kramber said the couple listed the land and building for $850,000. They also are willing to lease the building to a restaurant operator, who would have to buy all Chad's assets - kitchen equipment, dining room furnishings, tableware - for $58,000.
Tucson Originals Executive Director Colette Landeen said the location is prime. "You've got Plaza Palomino that's renovated, and you've got new blood. It's also a corridor to the Foothills and Swan. It's a good location," said Landeen, calling the closing a big loss. "Twenty-two years is a long time."
Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4642.