The owners of Marana's Cattlemans Cafe have brought their down-home cooking to Oro Valley with the recent opening of their second location.
The menu at Cattlemans Cafe 2, 10110 N. Oracle Road, boasts everything from half-pound burgers and top sirloin steaks to biscuits and gravy and omelettes, said Mike McGee, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Cindy.
The McGees have more than 30 years' experience working in the restaurant industry.
Mike McGee got his start in the business when he was 13 and was taken under the wing of the owner of the now-closed Ralph's Rancho at what's now the River's Edge Lounge, 4635 N. Flowing Wells Road.
Since then, McGee, 52, has worked as a cook at the now-closed Tucson eatery Sambo's Restaurant, been a chef at a five-star restaurant in Phoenix, and worked as a district manager for El Pollo Loco, Coco's and Rubio's in California and Arizona.
All along the way he's picked up inspiration for the recipes on the menu at his own restaurant.
"It's kind of like construction - you can mix and match all you want," McGee said. "Once you know how to frame it, the windows and doors are easy."
Most of Cindy McGee's experience comes from being a server and manager.
Because of her tutelage of their employees, Mike McGee takes great pride in the service at their restaurants.
"Our service is impeccable," he said. "We have the friendliest service you can provide."
The family ties to the eateries don't end with the McGees - their daughter and a sister work at the restaurants, too.
"We're really family- and community-oriented," he said.
That means McGee is open to the wishes of his customers, he says.
"We're not corporate by no means," he said. "We can change on a dime."
For example, in the first week the new restaurant was open, McGee learned his Oro Valley customers preferred a spring mix in their salads as opposed to the romaine he serves at his original location at the Marana Stockyards, 14901 W. Kirby Hughes Road.
And a few customers have asked for gluten-free options, so he's putting in place a four-item gluten-free menu.
He's also fixing up the patio for diners who want to enjoy their breakfast, lunch or dinner al fresco.
McGee says his restaurant is unique in Oro Valley for its affordability.
"Basically you can get in and out for 10 bucks," he said.
Cattleman's Cafe 2 opened on Memorial Day and business at the 18-table eatery has been steady, McGee said.
Since going into business on their own in 2010 the McGees have wanted to build their own brand and open and eventually franchise several restaurants in the Tucson area.
If you go
• What: Cattlemans Cafe 2.
• Where: 10110 N. Oracle Road.
• Hours: 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays; 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays; 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays.
• Info: Call 395-1297
Contact reporter Veronica Cruz at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 573-4224.