Marana loses Monkey Business pizzeria, arcade

2014-01-30T00:00:00Z 2014-07-03T10:23:36Z Marana loses Monkey Business pizzeria, arcadeBy Cathalena E. Burch Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Monkey Business Eatertainment, the Marana pizza and arcade restaurant that quickly became a kids’ party destination soon after it opened in spring 2009, has closed.

Mother and son owners Jay and David McGuire pulled the plug at the end of the night Sunday, two months shy of their fifth anniversary.

On Tuesday, David McGuire met with a real-estate agent to have the 12,000-square-foot building listed for sale. No price had been set, but McGuire said “we know for sure we won’t walk away with a penny.” The question will be if the McGuires walk away still owing money, he added.

“We hung in as long as we could. We were running out of money,” the 43-year-old father of one said. “We can’t hang in any longer. We’ve got to cut our losses and try to move into something else.”

The McGuires owned a Famous Sam’s restaurant and sports bar for several years before they bought the land at 8581 N. Silverbell Road in mid-2005 with the hopes of having Monkey Business opened by late 2006. But after a series of delays, construction didn’t start until mid-2007.

In December of that year, with the building just starting to take shape, the contractor walked off the job, taking with him $700,000 of the McGuires’ money.

In the end, the pair, lifelong residents of the northwest side, spent nearly $4 million to build Monkey Business. They initially put the price at half that, which included buying arcade games and building a left-turn lane on North Silverbell Road to meet town of Marana requirements.

“The debt doubling was what killed us,” McGuire said Tuesday as the restaurant, sandwiched between a two-story nearly full business plaza and a parochial preschool and church, stood empty.

McGuire said the pair still owe a significant chunk of that initial debt.

To make ends meet, he launched Incendia Arms Manufacturing last year with the hopes that sales of their AR-15 lower and upper receivers would help pay down the debt. But that business, too, was fraught with speed bumps as he refined manufacturing and design of the rifle parts. 

“We really had hoped that we would be able to get it up strong enough and quick enough that it could pay down the debt here and get us out of the hole,” he said. “But it was a little too slow getting going.”

Incendia sells to private individuals and gun shops.

Monkey Business also catered lunches to several northwest-side private schools. McGuire said he will continue for the next week or two in order to give those schools a chance to find new caterers.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@azstarnet.com or 573-4642.

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