For years now, restaurant developer Sam Fox has wanted to open a Tucson outpost of his popular fast-casual healthy eatery Flower Child.
But he could never find the perfect location.
That changed late last year when he bought the Old Chicago Pizza building at 2960 N. Campbell Ave., near Glenn Street. The building was demolished, and a new one built in its place to house Flower Child and Fox’s pizza and rotisserie chicken restaurant Doughbird.
“I was finally able to get the spot where I felt that it belonged,” the Tucson native said last Friday as he was making plans to come home on Saturday, April 1, to test-drive the restaurant with a special family and friends event.
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Flower Child, which features a menu of salads and bowls, many of them vegetarian and vegan, will open to the public at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 4.
“I’m excited to bring it there and show it off,” said Fox, who launched his restaurant career in 1998 with the modestly upscale new American restaurant Wildflower at 7037 N. Oracle Road and grew it into an empire with 11 concepts and restaurants nationwide. “It’s always exciting to do new stuff in Tucson. Obviously Tucson’s been an amazing supporter of us and my career, and really a foundation for who I am.”
This is the first new Fox restaurant in Tucson since he opened Culinary Dropout at the old Grant Road Lumber Co. building in 2017. Two years later, Fox sold his Phoenix-based Fox Restaurant Concepts to Cheesecake Factory, which employs Fox and his company to create and open restaurants around the country.
Doughbird is expected to open in mid-May, Fox said. It will be only the third location for that concept, which he introduced in 2017.
This year, Fox will open a dozen restaurants, including the new margarita speakeasy Pushing Daisies in Nashville, Culinary Dropout locations in Charlotte and Atlanta and Flower Child restaurants in Houston and possibly San Antonio. Fox said he will open 15 restaurants in 2024.
“We’re poised for a lot of growth,” he said.
In November, his 141-room boutique hotel The Global Ambassador will open at 4360 E. Camelback Road. The hotel, which will include three or four restaurant concepts unique to the hotel and a rooftop that he says will rival any in Phoenix, is located near Fox Restaurant Concepts’ offices on Phoenix’s east side.
“It’s my side hustle,” Fox said of the project, which has been in the works for six years.
New restaurants and bars that have opened in the Tucson area in 2023
Sumaj is a mother-daughter-run food truck that serves up Bolivian street food.
Where: 403 N. Sixth Ave.
Sumaj is a new food truck slinging Bolivian street food near downtown Tucson. It's the only place that makes Bolivian food in Tucson, and they make it all from scratch.
Chick-in Waffle is the first chicken and waffles restaurant in Tucson since May’s Counter Chicken & Waffles on East Speedway closed in 2018. Several Tucson restaurants, including The Drunken Chicken on North Fourth Ave., serve chicken and waffles, but none of them focuses on it exclusively.
Where: 5524 E. Grant Road
Website: Chick-in Waffle
For Star subscribers: A Kansas City, Missouri, restaurant has opened its first location outside its homebase in Tucson, with two locations coming soon to Phoenix.
Brillé Mead Company
Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey and in Ethiopia, a version of mead called te’j is a familiar household drink, consumed out of long-necked vessels called bereles. Brillé Mead Company's David Woods is bringing te’j to Tucson.
Where: 3895 N Oracle Rd
Phone: (520) 207-2312
Website: Brillé Mead Company
Brillé Mead Company is a new place to find mead in Tucson. The mead is inspired by Ethiopian te'j, from owner David Woods' home country.
Rotisserie chicken and pizza is the premise of Sam Fox's six-year-old concept Doughbird, which opened its first Tucson location on May 31.
Where: 2960 N. Campbell Ave.
For Star subscribers: Doughbird, a rotisserie chicken and pizza restaurant, is opening next door to another new Fox eatery, Flower Child.
While there are lots of Mexican sushi food trucks in Tucson, Mr. Patron is the first sit-down restaurant slinging the deep-fried rolls. It even has a patio.
Where: 5754 E. 22nd St.
Phone: (520) 372 2346
Website: Mr. Patron
11 new restaurants have recently opened in Tucson. Find a second location of Indian Twist, a new pupuseria in a food truck park and a Japanese-style sandwich spot at American Eat Co.
Hideout Steakhouse & BBQ
This small chain, started in Myton, Utah, has one restaurant in Casa Grande and opened its third location in Tucson on April 3. They offer steak cooked on a hot stone right at your table along with other steakhouse classics.
Where: 5475 S. Calle Santa Cruz
Phone: (520) 702-2227
Website: Hideout Steakhouse
For Star subscribers: The Hideout Steakhouse and BBQ will open next year on Tucson's south side, creating about 50 new jobs.
Idaho-based Gyro Shack, serves up Greek staples in a "fast-causal" setting.
Where: 5775 E. Broadway Blvd
Phone: (208) 853-5840
Website: Gyro Shack
The new Greek-inspired joint will host its soft opening on April 14 across from Park Place Mall.
The Backyard Food Truck Park
The Backyard has a rotating roster of 20 trucks, though a core few will be posted up 20 days of each month and 7-8 are featured at a time. The park is open daily, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: 890 W. Grant Road
Phone: (520) 668-0074
Website: The Backyard
The Backyard, located on Grant Road, is Tucson's newest food truck hub. With a roster of 7-8 food trucks at a time, you'll find Mexican sushi to Persian-inspired coffee.
Where: 621 N 4th Ave
Phone: (602) 544-6766
Website: Zyka Twist
Tucson's Indian Twist just opened a second location, this time on 4th Ave. Zyka Twist serves a curated selection of items you love from Indian Twist's midtown location.
Flower Child features a menu of salads and bowls, many of them vegetarian and vegan.
Where: 2960 N Campbell Ave. #110
Phone: (520) 276-4550
Website: Flower Child
Kava Den is a new extension of the Kava Bar, which offers Kava drinks and products.
Where: 67 E. Pennington St.
Website: Kava Den
Uptown Burger is a counter-service, fast-food restaurant that serves a half-dozen eclectic burgers, salads, fries and gelato.
Where: 6370 N. Campbell Ave. suite 160
Phone: (520) 638-6182
Website: Uptown Burger
For Star subscribers: The scion of Tucson's famous Italian restaurant family has dove into his passion for burgers.
Yellow Brick Coffee
Yellow Brick Coffee is at a new location offering hand- and batch-brewed coffees, espresso-based beverages and pastries made in-house.
Where: 800 N. Country Club Road
Phone: (520) 226-4068
Website: Yellow Brick Coffee
For Star subscribers: A Tucson-based coffee roaster is opening its flagship location at the iconic Benedictine Monastery in midtown.
A new food truck park opened in February at the Tanque Verde Swap Meet.
Where: 4100 S. Palo Verde Road
Phone: (866) 440-2810
Website: Comida Park
Blue Front, home to American comfort foods, opened in January.
Where: 110 E. Congress St.
Phone: (520) 849-7964
Website: Blue Front
Dave’s Hot Chicken
Where: 5615 E. Broadway Blvd.
Phone: (520) 613-2420
Website: Dave’s Hot Chicken
This popular chain that specializes in Chicago-style hot dogs opened in February where Claim Jumper once stood at the El Con Center.
Where: 3761 E Broadway Blvd
Main Event is a family-friendly bowling, arcade and entertainment venue that opened its first Tucson location in March.
Where: 4700 S Landing Way
Phone: (520) 503-3301
Website: Main Event
Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at email@example.com. On Twitter @Starburch