Serial Grillers is moving east — far east — and next year it also will have a foothold in Marana.
This summer, owners Travis and William Miller will open their third and largest Serial Grillers restaurant in the former Rita Ranch Chuy’s Mesquite Broiler. In the summer or fall of 2019, the brothers plan to add a Marana restaurant off Interstate 10 and Cortaro Farms Road in a plaza that will be built next to IHOP, Travis Miller said.
That will bring to four the number of brick-and-mortar restaurants born from the Millers’ serial killer-themed food truck, which they rolled out in mid-2012. In summer 2013, they opened their first restaurant in a former pizza takeout joint at 5737 E. Speedway.
“We’re definitely taking a gamble,” Travis Miller said on Wednesday of opening two more restaurants. “We’re hoping that our business continues to grow because there is so much of Tucson that has never heard of us. We’ve never marketed this business; it’s been word of mouth.”
The Rita Ranch restaurant at 7585 S. Houghton Road will be the biggest of the three restaurants, with seating for 282 diners. Miller said he hopes to have it open within 105 days — the time it will take to add fresh paint, install kitchen equipment and get a liquor license to serve 60 beers on tap, including several from Tucson and Arizona craft brewers.
The Millers first focused on craft brews when they expanded their original Serial Grillers restaurant on East Speedway to include a tap room. Craft beer now makes up roughly 20 percent of the restaurants’ revenues, Miller said.
Construction has not begun on the Marana location, being built by Phoenix-based Thompson Thrift Retail Group.
Still in the works for the Miller brothers is their Craft, A Modern Drinkery, which was expected to be opened and pouring by February, but the craft brew-centric bar at 4603 E. Speedway has been plagued by construction delays, Travis Miller said. The 2,300-square-foot bar, once home to the popular midtown dive bar Terry & Zeke’s, will have 40 craft beers on tap, five of them from Tucson breweries.
Craft, which will seat 75 to 100 people in the bar and on the patio, also will offer six wines on tap.
In other Tucson restaurant news, Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar at the Tucson Mall, 150 W. Wetmore Road, will close at the end of business Saturday, May 19, according to a Facebook posting Wednesday morning.
The restaurant, specializing in regional American fare from pastas and pizza to osso bucco and crab mac and cheese, has been open just over a year.
When the 16-year-old Spokane, Washington, company announced plans to expand to Tucson in late 2016, they billed the Tucson restaurant as their most ambitious and farthest flung. The company’s other locations outside Spokane include Salt Lake City and Portland, Oregon.
Twigs is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.