Morsels: Tidbits of Tucson restaurant news

2014-02-13T00:00:00Z Morsels: Tidbits of Tucson restaurant news Arizona Daily Star
Longhorn Steakburger moving to eastside

Longhorn Steakburger is leaving its home on East 22nd Street for new digs on East Tanque Verde Road.

The 16-year-old family-owned restaurant expects to close its doors at 9431 E. 22nd St. on June 1 and move into its larger building at 8995 E. Tanque Verde Road a couple weeks later, said manager Angie Lamoreaux.

Lamoreaux said the new building, once home to a Chuys restaurant, will seat about 150 people, compared with the 88 seats at the current location.

David Ogle opened Longhorn Steakburger — not to be confused with the national LongHorn Steakhouse chain — in 1998 on Speedway and Kolb Road as the Great American Cattle Co. A divorce several years ago led to the name change.

The restaurant has been at its current location since 2004.

LongHorn Steakhouse is building a 6,200-square-foot restaurant at 5725 E. Broadway. Construction is ongoing, and no opening date has been set.

Lamoreaux said she fields five or 10 calls a day from people mistaking Longhorn Steakburger with LongHorn Steakhouse. The two restaurants are not affiliated.

3rd Smashburger
to open in March

The Colorado-based Smashburger will open its third Tucson restaurant on March 5 at 6970 E. 22nd St. off of North Kolb Road, in the Eastpoint Marketplace.

The menu will feature several Tucson-inspired items including the Arizona Grilled Chicken Sandwich with habanero cheese, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, onion, chipotle mayo and fresh jalapeños, and the Arizona Cobb Salad tossed in a spicy chipotle sauce.

Smashburger officials said the three restaurants combined have created more than 70 local jobs. The restaurants are owned by franchise operator Eric Wolf, according to a news release.

“The success of my first two stores prompted me to continue to expand Smashburger,” he said in the release.

The first Tucson Smashburger opened in 2012 at 4821 E. Grant Road, followed last summer with a second location at 3837 E. Broadway.

Alfonsos open shop today in Oro Valley

Tom and Nancy Alfonso will open their second location of Alfonso Gourmet Olive Oils & Balsamics today at 7854 N. Oracle at West Magee Road, in the Plaza Escondida Center in Oro Valley.

Throughout the opening week, customers get a 10 percent discount.

The Alfonsos opened their first location in St. Philip’s Plaza on North Campbell Avenue and East River Road in November 2011. In late 2012, they teamed up with cheese-monger Tana Fryer, who opened her Blu the Cheese Shop at Alfonso to sell handcrafted and hard-to-find international cheeses.

Fryer will have a counter in the Oro Valley store. Last year she opened a shop at The Mercado, San Agustín on West Congress Street at Avenida del Convento.

Taproom-restaurant set for North Fourth

Two brothers are working to bring a craft beer and wine concept to North Fourth Avenue.

Mark and Eric Erman hope to open a tasting room and restaurant called Ermanos Craft Beer Depot by the end of the year in the old home of Arroyo Design, 224 N. Fourth Ave.

The business will work in the same vein as Tap & Bottle on North Sixth Avenue. No alcohol will be produced on site, but local and national beer and wine offerings will be available.

“We want to add to the great beer culture here,” Mark Erman said. “It is just booming.”

Mark is a Michigan native and a home brewer, who has made a living in environmental law.

His brother brings the professional experience, having worked as a brewer over the last decade in Michigan, Denver and, most recently, Portland.

“Tucson sometimes lags behind on the food and beverage front,” Mark said. “Eric has seen the future in Denver and Portland. He’ll be bringing some of that to the table.”

Mark said Ermanos also will serve food. The menu is still being worked out, but Mark said to expect small plates that complement the beverage selection.

Mark said architect Rob Paulus has signed on to redesign the space.

“We are working with him on it right now,” Mark said. “We want something that is really unique, but still contributes to the long history of the building.”

Ermanos is the latest addition to the south end of North Fourth Avenue. Other restaurants on the way near the Fourth Avenue underpass include The Coronet, set to open next month in the Coronado Hotel Apartments, and Hudson, a Jason Anderson project slated to open in the fall at 201 N. Fourth Ave.

“Hopefully, we will make that end of Fourth a nicer ecosystem for the crowds moving to and from downtown,” Mark said.

Gerald M. Gay and Cathalena E. Burch

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