The restaurant, with its emphasis on Southern cuisine and live entertainment from national and regional country artists, could open around Oct. 1 in the Tucson Mall, said Frank Capri, CEO of Phoenix area-based owners Boomtown Entertainment LLC.
Construction on the 20,000-square-foot space across from Cheesecake Factory has been ongoing since April, said Boomtown President Greg McClure.
“We can’t wait to get opened,” Capri said. “It’s going to be a big venue, state of the art. Great food, great music. There’s going to be nothing like it in Tucson.”
This will be the second Arizona location for Toby Keith’s; the first opened in Mesa in spring 2010. A third restaurant will open in Phoenix’s west valley – think University of Phoenix Stadium area – later this year, Capri said.
Keith launched the restaurant a few years ago with three locations in his native Oklahoma. Since then, another dozen have opened, 11 of them owned by Boomtown. A location in Las Vegas is owned by Harrah’s Las Vegas.
Toby Keith’s menu includes Southern specialties such as barbecue ribs, chicken and pork, burgers and chicken fried steak along with he-man sounding appetizers and state-fair worthy desserts. Appetizers include Toby’s Platter – a plethora of nachos, wings, mozzarella sticks, deep-fried jalapeno poppers and mac and cheese wedges, served with marinara, blue cheese and ranch dipping sauces. Dessert is highlighted by a fried Twinkie.
But the menu is not what lures country music fans to Toby’s table. It’s the chance to sit at the giant guitar-shaped bar – painted red, white and blue like the American flag – and watch a rising Nashville singer perform on a stage that’s close enough to see the sweat on his/her brow.
The bars host live music three or four nights a week – including every Friday and Saturday night, McClure said – with artists ranging from freshly signed Nashville newcomers to fan-favorite Texas red dirt singers.
Upcoming shows at the Mesa location: Scott Weiland, former frontman for Stone Temple Pilots (who includes country as part of his repertoire as a solo artist), on Sunday; Granger Smith July 27; and Mark Wills Aug. 17.
Boomtown officials are confident the concept will fly with Tucson’s strong country music fan base; Keith has a devoted following here that filled Casino del Sol’s AVA in 2004, the last time he played a Tucson show.
“It’s a great market for us,” said Capri. “We love the town, love the people. We’re going to be there for a long time.”
1065 N Dobson Rd.
Mesa AZ 85201
Sat-Sun: 11am - 2am
Mon-Fri: 11am - Midnight or Later