Jack's barbecue off the market for now
Jack's Original Barbecue is enjoying a second wind and won't close this summer as expected, said owner Greg Boccardo.
The Tucson barbecue institution - it's been around since 1950 - has seen a significant jump in business since news came out in May that it might close.
"There was no way we were going to make it through summer. If you know restaurants in Tucson, summers are brutal, and we were going into the summer in the hole," Boccardo said.
Boccardo has owned Jack's with his brother Steve and father, Larry, for 15 years. The family put the business up for sale several months ago and had determined they would have to close by summer if they had no buyers.
But once word got, "we got really busy," Boccardo said.
"People started flooding in. They were saying, 'Oh you can't close.'" he said.
"We've made it halfway through summer. I told my brother, if we could just survive July and August … we may be able to survive another year," he said.
Boccardo is hoping he can keep Jack's running long enough for the economy to rebound, which could boost his catering business. Before the recession took hold, Jack's catering brought in a bulk of the restaurant's revenues.
"We're not out of the weeds yet, but if we can get through the next two months of summer, we may be able to give this a ride," Boccardo said. "We don't really want to shut it down."
Jack's, 5250 E.22nd St., is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Tucson's burger scene to gain a Smashburger
Smashburger, a Colorado-based chain that describes itself as "the fastest growing 'better burger' concept in the U.S.," has plans to open in Tucson by Dec. 1.
The eatery will share space in the former Buddy's Grill location, 4821 E. Grant Road, with Paradise Bakery & Cafe.
So what sets Smashburger apart from the many, many other burger joints vying for your dining dollar?
One hundred percent Angus beef burgers served up with a variety of toppings and sides you won't find anywhere else, said franchisee Eric Wolf.
Basic "create-your-own" burgers start with a choice of bun (classic egg, multi-grain, spicy chipotle or none at all) then move on to a list of nearly 20 free toppings that range from Smash sauce to grilled onions and sweet relish and jalapenos.
Add-ons that will cost you a bit extra include Applewood smoked bacon ($1.50), guacamole ($1), garlic mushrooms ($1), and fried pickles (75 cents) among others.
Specialty burgers include a regional option. The Arizona ($5.99 or $6.99 for a Big Smash) features habañero cheese, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, onion, spicy chipotle mayo and jalapeños on a chipotle bun.
There are also grilled chicken sandwiches, a black-bean burger, hot dogs and entree-sized salads. Side items include sweet potato Smashfries tossed with rosemary, olive oil and garlic ($1.99) and veggie frites - flash-fried asparagus spears, carrot sticks and green beans ($2.99).
Haagen-Dazs shakes top the dessert menu.
"It's a fast casual concept," Wolf said. Patrons order at the counter and the food is brought to their table.
There are nine Smashburgers in the Phoenix area, with plans for a couple of more by the end of the year. "They're expanding dramatically across the country," Wolf said. The Tucson eatery will be Wolf's first Smashburger franchise, and he said he plans to open others here.
Smashburger will be open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Fine Wine and Felines wine tasting and benefit
On Sunday, raise a glass to benefit the felines at the Hermitage Cat Shelter.
Catavinos Wine Shoppe & Tasting Room, 3063 N. Alvernon Way, is hosting Fine Wine and Felines from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday.
The $20 cost includes a flight of six wines to taste along with cheeses and other nibbles.
Craig Market, a Nashville singer and songwriter, will perform.
Call Hermitage at 571-7839 to RSVP and for more information.
Speedway Beyond Bread to get a face-lift
The breakfast crowd at the Beyond Bread on Speedway will want to get their Cindy's Raisin Challah French Toast-fix this weekend.
The dining area will close for renovations Monday through July 8.
The eatery will remain open for pickup orders, take out and catering at the side entrance.
There won't be any hot breakfasts there that week, but many of the breakfast pastries will be available.
This will be the first renovation at the 6260 E. Speedway location, which opened more than a decade ago, said owner Shelby Collier.
Work will be phased in over the next few months.
Next week's itinerary will include replacing bakery cases, redoing the beverage bar and refreshing the bathrooms, he said.
The pastry area will also be expanded a bit.
The floors will be redone later next month and the tables and chairs eventually replaced.
Check out Beyond Bread's website - www.beyondbread.com - for the Speedway location's amended hours next week.
And while Beyond Bread usually closes on the Fourth of July, all three locations (3026 N. Campbell Ave., and 421 W. Ina Road) will remain open on Wednesday.
Native New Yorker expanding to midtown
Native New Yorker is preparing to open in midtown by mid to late August.
Renovations have started on the site of the former Chuy' Mesquite Broilers at 3100 E. Speedway.
It will be owned by the same franchise partners - Brian Klingensmith and Dave and John Damitio - who opened the area's first Native New Yorker in Marana in May 2008. It's at 8225 Courtney Paige Way, in a strip mall off North Cortaro Road and Interstate 10 in Marana.
"It's been a home run for us. We're excited to get more in town to service the rest of Tucson," Klingensmith said.
Customers have asked them to expand east, in addition to the south side of Tucson and into Oro Valley.
Cathalena E. Burch, Inger Sandal