(Photo credit: La Plancha/Facebook)
A familiar face from Tucson's culinary past has plans to open a new restaurant on North Fourth Avenue by the end of May.
Irene Echeandia, who owned and operated Irene's Restaurant at 254 E. Congress Street for nearly a decade, has chosen 344 N. Fourth Avenue as ground zero for her new concept, dubbed La Plancha.
The eatery, which fills the void left behind by Café Marcel's recent relocation to North Oracle Road, will put its focus on Latin sandwiches drawing from Echeandia's Brazilian and Peruvian roots.
Think pork and steak sandwiches served with sweet potato fries, Brazilian barbecue and coxinha, a type of Brazilian fried, meat-filled dumpling.
Echeandia, who ran Irene’s from 1997 to 2005, said she is pleased to bring those distinct flavors back to the downtown area.
“It’s something that we’ve always enjoyed,” she said. “We love cooking. We love people. We are excited to get started.”
The new restaurant space is currently undergoing a facelift.
When launched, the plan is to stay open for lunch and dinner Mondays-Wednesdays and extend into late night hours toward the end of the week.
La Plancha will be a family affair. Two of Echeandia’s sons, her 81-year old mother and her daughter, Cristina Twal will help with the business.
Echeandia said opening at this point in time is exciting. Downtown and North Fourth were not as inviting when her previous restaurant was around.
“There wasn’t as much to do downtown as there is now,” she said. “Now it is all around me. It is refreshing, a big city atmosphere.”
She is not concerned with the growth in competition.
“I like that energy,” she said. “I see it as a positive. The more the merrier.”
Keep up with La Plancha on Facebook.