Relish Kitchen and Wine Bar replaces Create Cafe

Chef-owner Stephen Hurd is aiming for a more upscale vibe when he opens Relish Kitchen and Wine Bar in the space that recently housed the family restaurant, Create Cafe.

For the past several weeks, Hurd has been remodeling the 3,052-square-foot space at 4660 E. Camp Lowell Drive. The $20,000 project includes painting, adding a lounge area, rearranging the dining room setup and tweaking the kitchen design. He hopes to open Wednesday, serving salads and sandwiches counter service for lunch and a full-service tapas-style menu with wine pairings at dinnertime.

Hurd, a former manager of Tucson Country Club, plans to serve Tucson and regional wines and beers.

Hurd is a certified executive chef with experience at restaurants in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. He has been in Tucson nine years.

Create Cafe closed Dec. 15. Owner Lauri Kaye continues to run the cafe's catering arm.

Economy, high rent closes eastside Greek Taverna

Greek Taverna, the eastside sister restaurant of the UA area's Fat Greek, closed last Friday.

It was the latest blow for owner George Markou, who has been working since the summer to reopen Fat Greek after flooding shuttered the restaurant and caused more than $300,000 in damage.

"When you lose one and you don't have income coming in … then you put the other one in jeopardy," Markou said.

The three-year-old Greek Taverna had been hampered by the economy, Markou said, but he said he was able to balance it out when Fat Greek was doing well during the school year.

He said he decided to close the restaurant when his lease was up beginning this month.

Meanwhile, Markou had hoped to reopen Fat Greek, 994 E. University Blvd., as Pelio Grill Greek Taverna & Catering as early as last month. The opening is on hold as he negotiates a settlement with his insurance company for the flood damage. Markou said he is seeking $350,000 from the insurance company and already has spent $35,000 on contractors and architects.

Pelio Grill will offer a number of seafood and sausage dishes native to Pelio, Greece, with most prices remaining under $10; only three dishes will top $10, Markou said.

So long, Big Juan; taco shop closes its 2 locations

It's so long to Big Juan's Tacos y Burros in Tucson.

The short-lived Mexican chain announced on Facebook last week that it has shut its doors at both locations, 4352 E. Speedway and 4470 N. First Ave.

The post cited "unforeseen circumstances" for the closure and thanked patrons for their support.

Big Juan's opened on East Speedway in April and on North First in June.

2nd Pita Jungle to open in Tucson area this summer

Tucson is getting its second Pita Jungle restaurant, this one at 7090 N. Oracle Road at Ina Road in a long-closed Cold Stone Creamery shop.

The restaurant, which serves an extensive menu of salads, smoothies, wood-fired pizzas and healthy burgers, is expected to open this summer, according to Pita Jungle officials.

The first Tucson Pita Jungle opened in mid-February 2011 at The Plaza at Williams Centre, 5340 E. Broadway. Most items cost less than $10.

The Tempe-based Pita Jungle has locations throughout the Phoenix area, in Flagstaff and in California, where it has three restaurants.

Cold Stone closed its Oracle Road location more than a year ago.

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