When you consider what must occur, what stars must align, and what boxes must be checked to take any idea from conception to manifestation, it’s amazing how many ideas-some head-scratchers, some brilliant, and everything in-between- actually do come to fruition.
Film Genre, Meet Restaurant
If you ever became interested in the spaghetti western genre of film – the dramatic, post-John Wayne iconic western that featured neither spaghetti nor the west – you know why they’re called spaghetti westerns. Let’s just say it has to do with Italy. A lot of Italy. So it only makes sense that 50 years after Clint Eastwood trekked across the sands in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, that some brilliant Tucson restaurateur thought the genre would make for a great restaurant.
Kade Mislinski, whose ideas, energy and involvement in various restaurants is about as quirky sounding as his name, is the brains behind Classic Spaghetti Western Steakhouse. While he’s no longer involved with two of downtown Tucson’s most popular establishments he helped father, Mislinski currently co-owns and/or co-operates businesses such as Saguaro Corners, Batch, Mother Hubbard’s, Cafe Passe, Mulligan’s, and others.
Believe it or not, Mislinski hits the nail on the head with Classic. From the gravel parking lot to the old west saloon vibe and spaghetti westerns playing in the background, the ambience is there. It’s almost as if you’d expect a pock faced gunslinger to strut in, spurs a jingling.
Food That Would Do Leone Proud
But ambience can only take a restaurant so far. Mislinski brought in former Lodge on the Desert chef Andrew Larkin to develop a menu that toes the line between steakhouse and Italian restaurant. And they achieve that balance quite nicely, and literally. Reasonably priced items such as Pork Saltimbocca ($13) and Lasagna Bolognese ($15) pay worthy (and filling) homage to Sergio Leone’s homeland on the “Classic Italian” side of the menu, while a full range of steak cuts, such as sirloin, filet, New York, ribeye, a 24 oz. porterhouse, and more make up the steak side of things.
While the Italian menu rarely breeds with the steak side, Classic does offer a hybrid item in the bodybuilder-approved Spaghetti & Ribeye ($33), which includes a 16 oz. ribeye, spaghetti, meatball, and loaded baked potato. It’s perfectly shareable, unless you’re the type that can finish a 16 oz. ribeye, spaghetti, meatball, and loaded baked potato. Additionally, Classic offers a variety of sides, sandwiches, and appetizers, as well as one of the most impressive looking pieces of tiramisu we’ve seen.
For lunch, Classic offers a host of options sure to please the heavy carb loader, sandwich lover, and salad orderer. Classic Lunch Bowls ($7.50) offer a choice from six different types of pasta, seven types of sauce, and six different types of protein, like meatballs, sausage, shrimp, and more. The usual sandwich suspects all appear on bread from local bakers, no less, like Barrio Bread and Viro’s Italian Bakery. Look for items such as Italian Beef, Italian Dip, Italian Cold Cut, Chicken Pesto, Caprese, and a variety of burgers, including the Classic, Western Bacon Cheese, and the Brunch Burger. Look for a variety of sides, as well: fries, onion rings, ranch beans, and side salad. For those trying to eat a little lighter at lunch time, options are less broad, with a Caprese Salad, Caesar, and Wedge.
So saddle up and head over. It’s a solid manifestation of a film genre… in a restaurant.
Classic Spaghetti Western Steakhouse is open daily from 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. and located at 1535 N. Stone. For more information, including reservations and menu, visit classictucson.com.
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