Ryan Clark, the three-time Tucson Iron Chef and winner of the 2012 World Margarita Championship, is leaving Lodge On the Desert.
Clark will become a partner and executive chef of Agustín Kitchen, the reincarnation of the French-inspired Agustín Brasserie at Mercado San Agustín west of downtown.
Clark, 28, said he will remain at Lodge On the Desert, 306 N. Alvernon Way, for a couple weeks and hopes to have Agustín opened by early December.
Clark joins Agustín founders Adam Weinstein and Kira Dixon-Weinstein, who opened Agustín Brasserie in March 2012 at 100 S. Avenida del Convento (at West Congress Street) in the Mercado San Agustín. The couple closed the restaurant in early June for the summer, promising to reopen in August.
Weinstein said the couple spent the summer contemplating options for the French-inspired bistro, including possible partnerships with “established groups.”
Over the summer, they also began talking with Clark and developed a culinary kinship that resulted in their partnership, Weinstein said.
Bringing Clark into the mix “is absolutely a coup,” Weinstein said. “Fundamentally, he really brings home a commitment to the Southern Arizona food shed and locally harvested and heritage food, which is really a large mission of the Mercado.”
Clark has been Lodge On the Desert’s executive chef for five years. He also was at The Dish and Canyon Ranch.
Agustín Kitchen’s menu is still a work in progress, but Weinstein said it will focus on farm to kitchen with an emphasis on New American cuisine that has been Clark’s specialty at Lodge On the Desert. The menu also will include some traditional brasserie favorites.
The Mercado San Agustín is a public market that includes several gift shops and jewelers as well as two bakeries, La Estrella Bakery and Dolce Pastello cakery.