An iconic Tucson Mexican restaurant and its popular offspring are moving into one of Arizona’s largest sports and entertainment venues.
El Charro Mexican Cafe and Sir Veza’s Taco Garage plan to begin serving limited menus from their side-by-side spaces at US Airways Center in Phoenix, in time for the Phoenix Suns’ regular-season opener against the Portland Trailblazers on Oct. 30.
Sir Veza’s also will move into the bar space that was home to Bar Vector, an arena official confirmed.
“It’s great for Tucson and it’s a cool Tucson connection,” said Ray Flores, Sir Veza’s founder and president of El Charro, referring to Suns owner and Tucson native Robert Sarver.
Flores said Sir Veza’s and El Charro will offer limited menus — about a dozen items apiece — from small walk-up counters. Prices will be around $7 to $10, matching what Sir Veza’s charges at its Sky Harbor International Airport outlet, he said.
Flores said the arena move is a great way to introduce El Charro and Sir Veza’s to a broader Phoenix market. Sir Veza’s opened at Sky Harbor in 2012.
“There is not a lot of money to be made from these things,” he said. “It’s more of a branding move.”
But Flores said he also is hoping this is the foot in the door to a better arena spot that offers street access in bustling downtown Phoenix. The arena is next door to Chase Field and in the center of Phoenix’s diverse entertainment district.
“Our goal is to get this done and next year move into a full-service space on the ground floor with access from the street,” said Flores, who started talking with arena officials about the move a month ago.
Flores estimated it will cost him no more than $30,000 to put up signs, make minor cosmetic improvements and move into all three arena spaces.
The US Airways Center Sir Veza’s will be Flores’ newest location since launching the concept in late 2009 at 4699 E. Speedway. He has a second Tucson location at Tucson Mall.
Another Sir Veza’s is expected to open early next year at Chandler Fashion Center in the Phoenix area.
“I think we fit a niche right now with Sir Veza’s because every town has their hometown favorites, but Sir Veza’s transcends that,” Flores said. “We’re just taking advantage of something that could be a game-changer for us.”
US Airways Center, formerly known as America West Arena, is home to the Suns, the WNBA Phoenix Mercury and the professional arena football team Arizona Rattlers. In addition, it will host concerts by big-name artists including Selena Gomez Nov. 5, Drake on Nov. 16, Justin Timberlake on Dec. 2 and Cher on March 22. The arena can seat 18,422 people.