Sixteen months after formally announcing plans to renovate the old Grant Road Lumber yard and create a sprawling restaurant/entertainment complex, Sam Fox is set to open The Yard in September.

The 20,000-square-foot complex, anchored by Fox’s Fox Restaurant Concepts chef-driven gastropub Culinary Dropout, will open Sept. 20.

The company is now hiring more than 210 people to fill positions that include cooks, servers and bartenders. To apply, visit

Tucson native Fox, who launched his restaurant empire in spring 1998 with Wildflower American Cuisine at 7037 N. Oracle Road, announced plans for The Yard in May 2016, nearly a year after the Hauert family closed its two Tucson lumber yards. Grant Road Lumber had been in business for 66 years.

At the time of the sale, Fox estimated The Yard Tucson would be his most ambitious hometown project, costing just shy of the $11 million he invested in The Yard in Tempe at the Farmer Arts District. That project, which opened in 2014, was reported to be the most expensive undertaking in Fox’s 20-year restaurant development career.

The Yard Tucson, with 20,000-square-feet of dining and entertainment space including a backyard-fashioned gaming area for cornhole and shuffle board and a nearly 2,700-square-foot private dining room big enough for 150, is Fox’s first new concept in Tucson since he debuted Blanco Tacos + Tequila and Zin Burger in 2007.

The menu for Tucson’s Culinary Dropout is still a work in progress, but Fox Restaurant Concept officials said it will include some favorites from Culinary Dropout’s five other locations including one in Las Vegas. Amped-up pub-style appetizers will include soft pretzels with a provolone fondue, antipasti inventive salads and sandwiches, and entrees including the 36-hour ribs and “Ma ... The Meatloaf!?!”

Among the beers on tap at the bar will be a few Arizona craft beers and a handful of specialty craft cocktails including the house-popular “Between You & Me” and “After School Special.”

Cathalena E. Burch

Cathalena has covered music for the Star for the past 20 years. She's a graduate of Arizona State University has worked at Sedona Red Rock News, Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, New York; and USA Today.