Boca Tacos y Tequila is moving into the old Delectables Restaurant & Catering space on North Fourth Avenue.
On Tuesday, Boca chef/owner Maria Mazon applied for a liquor license for 533 N. Fourth Ave., according to state records. On Wednesday afternoon, she completed her final walk-through of the space and finalized the purchase of the building where she will move her nearly 8-year-old Boca as early as next week. She hopes to open for business on Aug. 5, Mazon said.
The move comes on the heels of Mazon having to close Boca’s original location at 828 E. Speedway near the University of Arizona to make way for yet another towering student housing complex. She and Delectables owner Donna Difiore have been discussing the sale since the spring — within months of Mazon being notified in February that her landlord had sold the Speedway property to Core Campus Investment Partners to build a third Hub student housing tower.
The project also forced Boca’s neighbor Mama’s Hawaiian Barbecue to move; owner Sam Alboy closed the flagship restaurant at 850 E. Speedway in early June and expects to open in mid-August or early September in a 3,500-square-foot space on the lower level of The Hub student housing, 1011 N. Tyndall Ave. Joining Mama’s at the student housing tower will be Pita Platter, a Mediterranean restaurant and bakery, that will occupy 2,110 square feet.
Mazon said she hopes to get the keys to the Delectables building on Friday or early next week.
“The sooner the better so I can go and paint the whole thing and make it mine,” she said Wednesday afternoon. “For years it was Delectables and I want to make it Boca. I want to put my flair. The kitchen is fricking awesome because it is four times bigger than mine.”
The new space is roughly 3,000 square feet, significantly larger than Boca’s current location. Mazon said the new dining room will grow to 15 tables from the Speedway location’s five tables.
Boca will continue operating as a fast-casual counter-service restaurant. Over time, Mazon said she plans to expand the menu. But the core mission of representing authentic Mexican food centered largely on tacos will remain.
Mazon will continue operating Boca out of the Speedway location until July 30. It’s open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. except on Sundays, when it’s open from noon to 8 p.m.
The hours for the new location will be from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from noon to 8 p.m. Sundays. But Mazon said she might adjust the hours once she figures out the rhythms of downtown.
“I’ve never done business on Fourth so I have no idea,” she said. “I’m nervous, I’m scared, I’m happy and I’m excited, in that order.
Boca takes over a space that made an indelible impression on North Fourth Avenue for more than four decades. Delectables closed for good on June 30, ending a 44-year run, 35 of those under longtime owner Difiore.
Difiore announced in late May that she had found a buyer for the building, which also houses a hair salon and florist. She said at the time that she planned to continue Delectables Catering not far from her old Fourth Avenue space.
Boca Taco has gotten national attention since it opened in 2009. Two years after it opened, it launched its Exotic Taco Wednesdays, serving up an array of rare meats ranging from python and alligator, to kangaroo and rattlesnake. In February 2011, Boca made national headlines when it announced it would serve African lion meat tacos. The plan was later scrapped over health concerns, according to published reports.
Last month, Boca was featured on the Food Network’s “Ginormous Food.” The show focused on Mazon’s 5-pound Titanic Taco Dog (think Sonoran hot dog big enough for a family of five, with leftovers to spare).