If you haven’t already heard, the Flores family’s highly anticipated Charro Steak is scheduled to open downtown in late March in the building that formerly housed Barrio Cuisine at 188 East Broadway.
The inspiration began in the 1940s when the Flores family opened a restaurant in Casa Grande which featured steak on the menu.
“We found it interesting, in Casa Grande of all places,” El Charro President Ray Flores said. He said that opening a steakhouse is something the family has always wanted to do.
“Charro Steak is proof that we’re not going anywhere. It’s proof that we believe in Tucson,” Flores said.
“It’s something that Tucson needs. We have Western restaurants like Pinnacle Peak, and chains like Outback Steakhouse, but I don’t feel like there’s anything that represents Mexican steak or Tucson as a city,” Flores said. “We felt it was time.”
Although Charro Steak doesn’t have an official menu to release to the public, the restaurant will feature authentic items such as true charro beans and real tortillas. And the Flores family is working hard towards making Charro Steak unlike any other steakhouse in Tucson.
“For example, french onion soup is popular in steakhouses, but we’re going to do our own version of it,” Flores said.
Chef Carlotta Flores has also played a big part in the inspiration for the restaurant.
“First and foremost, she’s putting her hands on these products,” continued Flores. “The things she’s done in her own home are going to be a part of Charro Steak. It’s coming from our family heritage. We’re making our own Sonoran steakhouse,” he said.
“I would love if every news heading about Charro Steak would say that we are not Flemings, not Sullivan’s, not Pinnacle Peak,” he said. “We don’t want people to come in expecting fancy China, white table cloths, or elegantly-dressed waiters.”
“Downtown felt like the right spot,” Flores said. “The building is awesome. It speaks volumes.”
Although Flores said that they won’t be doing a lot in terms of renovating the exterior, they will be adding an extra bar inside, which Flores says is, “critical to the nature of downtown.” They will also be turning the kitchen into more of a display kitchen with their famous mesquite char broiler.
“When we’re all done and open, it’ll be nice, clean, and simple, with a touch of rustic,” which is more approachable than an opposing steakhouse such as Fleming’s, he said.
“We want to be here for the long haul,” said Flores. “By focusing on simple and easy-to-execute techniques,” Flores said, “That’s what’s kept us in Tucson for so long.”
The original El Charro, located at 311 North Court Avenue, opened in 1922. Less than a mile from the almost 100-year-old restaurant, Flores is proud of the location for Charro Steak.
“We landed a great location. The block has a great energy,” Flores said. “I don’t know if we’re counting on the streetcar for business at all, but we like being near new residents in the area, and across the street from the AC Hotel Tucson and near places like Janos Wilder’s Carriage House.”
“One of the biggest parts of why we’re doing this is because we believe in downtown. This is a natural extension of who we are,” Flores said.
As for future restaurant concepts, Flores says yes, there is “something coming up soon,” but is reluctant to discuss specific details.
“We have plans for something else, but we can’t talk about it right now,” Flores said. “We’re a business that needs to create, otherwise we get stale.”
The Flores family also owns Sir Veza’s, with locations in Tucson, Tempe, and Chandler, and Hecho En Vegas in Las Vegas. Now in its third year, Hecho En Vegas is doing great, says Flores. “Vegas is Tucson,” Flores said. “It has its seasonality, and now its heading into its season.”