Main Gate Square has a new barbecue restaurant — a first for the University of Arizona-area entertainment district that has everything from burgers to baklava.
Ramiro Scavo, chef-owner of urban farm bistro Pasco Kitchen & Lounge in University Boulevard’s Geronimo Plaza, opened Red’s Smokehouse and Tap Room in early January in the former home of Which Wich Superior Sandwiches on University, just west of North Park Avenue.
“It’s a completely new concept that we’re thrilled about,” said JaneMcCollum, general manager of the non-profit Marshall Foundation that owns the commercial property on University and is Scavo’s landlord for both restaurants.
Scavo renovated the 2,800-square-foot space at 943 E. University Blvd. that had been vacant since Which Wich closed in March 2013.
Red’s offers smoked meats such as brisket, beef and pork shoulder, and beef and pork ribs as well as dry aged steaks, house-made sausages and cold-smoked fish and cheeses.
Scavo said the name Red’s pays homage to the University of Arizona as well as an Arizona rancher named Red. It also refers to the color of the smoke ring formed on meats that are smoked in real wood, he added.
“When you smoke with fire wood like pecan or oak, you get that red ring,” he said.
Scavo extended the patio to wrap around the side and front of the building, and also created roll-up windows that will be part of the bar. The restaurant offers casual table service as well as takeout counter service.
“If you want a place to hang out, we have that for you. If you want a sit-down, we’ll have that,” he said, adding that the restaurant also will cater to tailgaters. “If you want to hang out and watch games and do beer tastings, we have that, as well.”
Scavo, a former partner in Zona 78 and the Oro Valley farm-to-table restaurant Harvest, opened Pasco Kitchen & Lounge 4½ years ago at 820 E. University Blvd. This summer he plans to spruce up that restaurant, including rebuilding the bar and putting in a new floor.
“We love it down here. It was a great decision to come down here,” he said of the boulevard, which is an entertainment hub for UA students and the surrounding neighborhoods. “We love the area; we are committed.”
McCollum said the Marshall Foundation had inquiries from 20 businesses interested in renting the Which Wich space and had narrowed it down to five serious offers, all of which were turned down because they brought nothing new to the district.