The Luke's Chicago Sandwiches, which opened in the former Viva Burrito spot at 2645 E. Speedway in 2011, has closed.
In a detailed post on the restaurant's Facebook page, owner Jason Amadori said the store was forced out by the landlord after having financial issues. He also cited city planning codes that favor corporations over small businesses.
Luke's several other Tucson locations, which are individually owned by other Del Principe family members, will remain in business. There are currently no plans for the Speedway space.
Here is the Facebook post in full:
"To our dedicated customers for years of loyalty and coming in our store year after year we are officially closed !
Yes we had some financial situations that we just could not overcome and we were closed down by the landlord today.
Dear Tucson, as the former owner of Luke's on speedway I want to go on a little rant about how you can help support this community by just doing little things that are necessary to not allow it , to be run by the corporate machine .
Having grown up in the food industry my whole life and owning a restaurant myself I have seen many restaurants for decades close down some of them have been open for many many years and generation of some families that have taken over those businesses to keep them thriving in the community .
1. Things that needs to change. I have seen through the health department and in the city planning board no longer can restaurants be passed down through generations of family without creating a new ownership and need updating on buildings. The city does not allow any more grandfathered in buildings on already established and operating businesses .
What this does it causes new owners of restaurants to have to go in and revamp the building to today standard codes . In turn can cost anywhere from 50 -100 thousand dollars in additional costs to buying an old established business. Now from my understanding , from what I was told by the city is this is their only solution to getting into a lot of the old restaurants and updating the buildings to be more updated fire codes and health code standards. But intern for these businesses to Move on and pass on to generations most people cannot come up with an additional hundred thousand dollars to upgrade the hood system and maybe some floor sinks in the kitchen . But corporations can and I quote what I was told by city inspector is "this is why we like corporations coming to town because they do what ever we tell them to do on a building"
2. The other thing , I know there's a lot of corporate franchise restaurants coming in this town and it's new and exciting but every time you go and eat at those places over and over again it chips away at the small business owners of this town . To the point where probably 30 or 40 years from now there won't be any locally small owned restaurants . It is just like today there are no locally owned mom-and-pop retail stores for the Walmarts and targets of the universe have deleted them from us .
3. Corporate businesses hiking up the rents for local landlords . Local landlords that own commercial spots in this town want the corporate rents so they inflate the rent to a point that it doesn't make sense or support the amount of business that the small local restaurants can afford !
Small local owned restaurants can never usually in some cases grow to the point to afford those high rent demands . We don't have the buying capacity to bring our food cost down by still serving you a quality product for a reasonable price.
These are all things that I see happening in Tucson through all the years that I have worked and ran businesses with my family in this town. The point is , try to eat more local, try to support your local restaurants because chances are these local restaurants they don't want to become the next Chick-fil-A or McDonald's or KFC most of the local restaurants are just
hard-working people that want to make a decent living to support their family and live and thrive in this community.
Thanks everyone Jason Amadori"