Isabella’s Ice Cream was set to open its third location on Wednesday at the MSA Annex downtown, the shipping container sidebar to the popular Mercado San Agustin on West Congress Street.
The shop is one of the final tenants of the Annex, a hyperlocal upscale retail center that opened in May next door to the Mercado.
One of the first businesses to open in the Annex was Kerry Lane’s Beaut Burger, a vegan burger joint that she and her husband, Ari Shapiro, have been working on for several years.
“When we came up with this idea four years ago while hiking in British Columbia, the whole idea was that it would be modeled not after a vegetarian restaurant but a great burger restaurant like Shake Shack,” said Shapiro, who also runs the 5-year-old Falora pizzeria in midtown.
Beaut Burger serves plant-based fare — burgers created from vegetables and grains and topped like meat burgers: lettuce and ketchup; grilled peppers and onions; peanut butter and tamarind chutney; or good, old-fashioned cheese burgers.
“That was sort of the goal we were setting for ourselves — we wanted to give people that total burger experience ... animal-free,” Shapiro said, adding that the idea was that diners wouldn’t realize their burger was meat-free.
“People would say, ‘Hey wait, this doesn’t have meat?’” she said.
Isabella’s, which has its main store at 210 N. Fourth Ave. and a second location at 1439 S. Fourth Ave. in the months-old American Eat Company, will be next door to Beaut Burger, which Shapiro said is perfect.
“Burgers and fries and ice cream, all right there,” he said.
Beaut Burger opened around the same time as Westbound, a bar from the owners of Tap & Bottle.
Shapiro said the two businesses share a liquor license, which allows customers to bring alcohol from Westbound into Beaut Burger.
The Annex also includes the Tucson-centric gift shop Why I Love Where I Live.
Coming soon are a Japanese restaurant and the first coffee shop from Hermosa Coffee Roasters, which supplies coffee for a number of Tucson restaurants and shops, said Annex spokeswoman Kristi Prisbrey.
The MSA Annex, 267 S. Avenida Del Convento, is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Details: facebook.com/msaannex
Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch