In a move that is sure to upset some and excite others, both HUB Restaurant & Ice Creamery and Playground will close in early July for renovations. While HUB’s renovations will extend for a tentative month, Playground’s more extensive renovations won’t be complete until late November.
HUB will close at 10 p.m., July 4 and reopen as a pop up restaurant at Martin Drug Co., which formerly housed Proper at 300 E. Congress St. A limited menu of HUB Restaurant favorites will be served alongside Martin Drug Co. drinks. No dinner service will be available Friday and Saturday nights.
Playground will close Saturday July 1 and also relocate operations to Martin Drug Co.
Retaining employees and remaining open for their core guests was a big reason for the decision to open as a pop up.
“One of the primary reasons for the move is to keep staff employed,” said Director of Operation Sandy Ford. “We have 85 employees at HUB and around 45 employees at Playground.”
Ford, who oversees operations at HUB, Playground, as well as HUB Ice Cream Factory, also said the renovations are way overdue.
HUB Restaurant & Ice Creamery opened in February 2011 as one of the first businesses – and success stories – setting up shop in downtown Tucson, a trend that has continued and now includes over 80 establishments. Sister nightclub Playground opened in January 2012 followed by standalone HUB Ice Cream Factory in May 2015. All three businesses are owned by developer Scott Stiteler and partners. Another Stiteler project, the AC Marriott will open in September 2017.
While operating from Martin Drug Co., HUB will offer a limited menu consisting of guest favorites, such as their pot pies, Prime Dip, Prime Fries, and a handful of additional items, including starters, salads, entrees, burgers, and more. Brunch will also be available at select times.
Martin Drug Co., which was intended as a pop up bar will transform into a hybrid version of Playground and HUB. From Monday July 10 through August 11, HUB will operate from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday from the Martin Drug Co. space.
Beginning July 8, Playground will operate from the Martin space, as well. All Playground events, such as Geeks Who Drink, yoga, brunch, and more, will continue from Martin Drug Co. On August 11, when HUB vacates Martin to resume operations in the renovated original location, Playground will fully take over the Martin space. Playground’s renovation is expected to be completed close to Thanksgiving.
HUB’s renovations will include a number of upgrades, including a new kitchen, new tables, chairs, bar stools, new and larger bathrooms, a private dining room, which will include opening the wall into the adjoining former Bianco Pizzeria space, and a new back seating area. The back patio will be no more.
Playground’s renovations are much more extensive and include a new kitchen from the adjoining Bianco space, new private area along Congress Street, front patio, new furnishings, lights, sound system, televisions, new bathrooms – as well as additional bathrooms, a relocated bar, a permanent, climate-controlled roof structure, and more.
Enjoy both HUB and Playground at Martin Drug Co. during renovations at 300 E. Congress St. For more information, keep up with HUB Restaurant & Ice Creamery at hubdowntown.com and Playground at playgroundtucson.com. Visit Martin Drug Co. at martindrugco.com.