Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Noshing Tucson: Coming Soon: Skybox

Coming Soon:  Skybox Restaurant & Bar, Tucson Restaurants

According to an ad on Craig’s List, Skybox is coming to Tucson: “SKYBOX Tucson’s newest, most innovative restaurant and sports lounge will be opening in March, located near River & Craycroft. Be part of an outstanding culinary staff, with one of the most creative Executive Chefs in Tucson. We will be accepting applications and setting up interviews throughout the next few weeks for all kitchen positions. Training will start around the 2nd-3rd week of March”

(that’s the ad)

With a little more research, the location is 5605 E. River Road. Currently that’s the location for Ric’s Café, Mina’s Thai, and Canal Street Pizza. There may be another sushi restaurant in that shopping center which used to be anchored by an IGA grocery store. It also has a veterinarian, library, and post office or UPS store and Annabell’s Attic, an antiques store. I bought a great orange chair there a few years ago.

a/o May 20, 2009 – here’s a review

In that exact location, suite 201, was Phoenician Mediterranean Restaurant. Before Phoenician, I don’t recall what was there. After the Phoenician, was a very short lived (4 months or less) Latin restaurant that advertised lots of tequilas.

I have not been able to confirm but there is a chain of Skybox Sports Grilles and this could be an addition. After a healthy google, I see Skyboxes in Albuquerque, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Alabama, and Florida, and one coming soon to Michigan. They are all sports related and called sports grille, bar & grill, and restaurant.

Is it just me or does the description of “most innovative” and “sports grille” sound incongruous?

When I think about the “most creative Executive Chefs in Tucson”, I think Janos Wilder (Janos/JBAR), Mark Ehrler (Loews Ventana Room), and Doug Levy (Feast)… not sports bar.

  1. Word has it this “great new restaurant” has already started shafting its brand new crew. I work in the local industry, have for years, and know for a fact that the owners of this place hired on 15 or so kitchen people and made quite a few promises, only to let the bulk of them go without so much as a thank you after they had asked them to bust their asses helping get the kitchen set up and ready to go over the last 10 days or so before opening. One friend of mine actually left another establishment based on a good faith belief in these people, and now he is unemployed. Yeah, this is a right to work state, but we in the trade also know that you get what you earn in the sense of quality service and loyalty, and my feeling today is that Skybox is being run by someone who doesn’t care at all about the well being of Tucson’s restaurant culture. Just a head’s up to the eating public, because you are going to be ones who suffer the ultimate harm done by an eating establishment that treats its emplyees this badly. Salud.

  2. You might want to do more research on the Chef who is at Skybox before passing statements and comments like you had posted! The Chef is one of Tucson’s most creative Chefs. He has been an Executive Chef for the past Fouteen Years at places such as Anthony’s in the Catalinas, Metro, Daniel’s, Soliel and many other fine dinning establishments. There are many levels of “creativity”. As far as Skybox, you might want to go dine there on any given day or night and see for yourself what “Skybox” is about. It is an upscaled dining pleasure and yes, a sports lounge. Not a sports bar as you might picture like Famous Sams, Thirstys, Fox and Hounds so on and so on. The menu is very creative with flavors that are unsurpassed. So, I think you need to get out more to dine and spend less time judging with all of your hearsay!!! Sorry to be so blunt!

  3. General,
    Thanks for the update. I think any restaurant opening in this bad economic climate and one or two months before Tucson hits 100-degrees is a bold move. I’ll ask my friends who live near there to check it out.

  4. I too have been in the industry for many years. I worked at Skybox for about a week and a half. It’s not the owners or the Chefs fault for having to let go of the staff. Just like any opening, you have to find out who’s who. It all looks good on paper and we all can talk a good talk. But when it comes down to making the grade, that’s when you keep the top! There were some people that were not catching on plain and simple. I was one of them and I knew I wouldn’t make the pick. The Chef really knows how to operate and has done a great job! I stop in about twice a week for lunch and dinner, and the establishment is doing very well! I was there helping with the opening and yes, it was cut-throat. But as you had stated, it is a right to work state and I believe that the owners and Chefs had to pick wisely in this tough economic status we’re in to protect their investments. I knew they were looking for a team that could pull through and stay with them. Even though I was one of them that they had to cut, I still rave avbout the place and the Chef to my friens and roomates! The restaurant and menu is one of the best I’ve seen aroun in a long time!

  5. Had some appetizers and drinks there last Friday, the serice is absolutely horrible! The appetizers were good but the server brought us the silverware 15 mins after the food and that’s because we had to ask for it! She brought our drinks one at a time too! As I said the service is horrible! Also verified by a recent Tucson newspaper ariticle, which you would think they would give them good service! We tried to buy a guy a beer who took some photos of us, and the girl said OK. She went to the bar, we thought to get him a beer, ten mins later comes back and asks what kind of beer to get him. We said ask him. Again duh? This place won’t last! They’re trying to serve steaks and be upscale, but have terrible idiots running the place! Some idiot behind the bar named Greg, can’t even say thanks for a tip! And he’s supposed to be the bar mgr? Real smart! The owner acts like you should kiss his butt too!

  6. I was there on Saturday, June 13, 2009. I sat down at the bar to watch TV and listen to some music. What happened next was bizarre–at least for a supposedly higher end establishment in the foothills.

    The main bartender got off work long before closing and sat down at the bar. These three drunken old lechers start a salacious conversation with her. One of them was all over her like a cheap suit. Next thing I know, she pulls up her blouse to show off her latest tattoo.

    At some point the kitchen help comes out and sits down at the bar as well. These guys look like they had escaped from a sideshow. Tattoos on the faces, the whole gruesome inked-up and pierced nine yards. I have nothing against the Bashful Bandit–in many ways, it’s a classier joint than the Skybox–but if I want to hang out with B girls and illustrated thugs, I’ll pick someplace at a non-foothills elevation.

    The remarkable thing was that the manager was sitting right next to the lechers and witnessed everything.

  7. Bottom line reality. The owner of Skybox has not yet isseud a single payroll to his staff in a legal, appropriate manner. He writes out checks every two weeks and deducts a flat tax rate af 15%. As in, no check stub reflecting hours worked, etc., tax deductions, nothing. It has been this way since they opened, and there is no damn excuse for it. The chef there is indeed experienced, but anyone close to the very short history of this establishment’s employment practices knows about drastic misrepresentations, high turnover, low pay, and on it goes. This has nothing to do with the economy. It is about the willingness of a business owner to excercise due care and consideration for staff. The food is nothing to go crazy over, either. That’s just my opinion, of course but I have over 20 years of culinary experience, and my opinion isn’t lightly developed.

  8. The food is fantastic and the service has improved 10 fold since I started going there when they first opened. New local restaurants typically have a working out the bugs period in the first few weeks. It appears from the amount of people dining there every night that Skybox has worked out its kinks. I and many of my friends go there regularly and we love the food and the service. Friday’s nights are packed both in the dining room and bar by 7pm. If you haven’t been there you should try it and judge for yourself.

  9. Anybody been there for lunch? We have a large group (varies between 8 & 14) that meets once a month for food and general chit chat. Think this place might be appropriate?

  10. I have not been there so I cannot respond. Perhaps someone who has, will.

    Today I had the good fortune to eat at Sur Real for lunch and there was a group of six or eight sitting nearby. Sur Real is on Skyline, near the NE corner of Campbell so depending where the group is coming from, it might not be conveniently located.

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