Astor House will be open for breakfast and lunch, whereas neighboring Tuck Shop only serves dinner. In the evening, Astor House will offer snacks, wine and beer, rather than full meals, to those waiting for an opening at Tuck Shop.
“I think our intent with Astor House was to fill the niches that Tuck Shop doesn’t,” general manager John Cavanagh said. “I’d say Astor will be the yin to our yang.”
Fernandes, the architect and owner, said Astor House will be a great place for those waiting 20 minutes to an hour for a table in Tuck Shop.
“Being able to have Astor House next door is perfect to have people walk over from Tuck Shop and have a comfortable place to have a snack or glass of wine, rather than get in their car and figure out somewhere else to go,” Fernandes said.
Cavanagh said Astor House will have counter service with agreeable pricing, making the space more casual and creating a broader crowd appeal, and will complement Tuck Shop’s limited space for socializing.
“The space will provide an option of hanging out that we just don’t have a lot of room for at Tuck Shop,” Cavanagh said.
After moving from New Orleans 16 years ago, Fernandes wanted to focus on residential dining–something he saw little of in Phoenix.
“There’s not too many examples of restaurants and bars and other commercial activity happening in neighborhoods in Phoenix, which is a lot different than other large cities like Chicago or Boston,” Fernandes said. “It was really a great and unique experience to be able to open these restaurants in a neighborhood like Coronado.”
Neighborhood roots and values are what helped drive Tuck Shop to success, Fernandes said.
“There’s really a strong sense of pride and community within Coronado,” Fernandes said. “We get tons of regulars that live right around the corner, who walk their dogs and ride their bikes right up to the store.”
Fernandes said he hopes Astor House will have the neighborhood vibe that will make people, “go out on a Saturday afternoon to just kick back and have a couple beers.”
Fernandes said he thinks Tuck Shop and Astor House belong to the residents of Coronado, not to him.
“When people come in from other places like Scottsdale, they’re checking it out,” Fernandes said, “but the folks in the neighborhood are (the people) who get the most out of us.”
Cavanagh said his main focus for Tuck Shop has always been what it could bring to Coronado.
“We want to take care of the neighbors first,” Cavanagh said. “Offer them more options–a place to sit with friends and make new ones. We want to be a place Coronado can be proud of.”
Fernandes attributed Tuck Shop’s appeal to a culinary edge, a straightforward menu and a value-oriented environment, and said he hopes to duplicate all three with Astor House.
“People will be able to grab a sandwich for lunch at Astor House, and take it to the middle of the neighborhood,” Fernandes said. “You can’t do that at restaurants in the middle of Camelback.”
After the opening of Astor House, set for mid-April, Fernandes will be opening Vovomeena, a breakfast joint located off of 7th Avenue and McDowell, near Chipotle and Five Guys.
“It’s a variation of our theme,” Fernandes said. “It’s not in a neighborhood per se, but there are neighborhoods down there. We’re excited to be a part of the Willow and Encanto neighborhoods, so they’ll have a place to go to breakfast.”
Fernandes said he chose to open his restaurants in downtown Phoenix despite ridicule from foodies.
“When I moved out here 16 years ago, it was a bit of a laughing stock in the world of food and beverage,” Fernandes said. “The last 10 years have been a transformation, and there’s a lot to be proud of here.”
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