Barrio Viejo establishment Cushing Street Bar & Restaurant (colloquially known as Cushing Street) will reopen late summer as the new location for The Coronet.
The location at 198 W. Cushing St. features over 5,000-square-feet of space, almost tripling the current 1,700-square-feet housing The Coronet at 402 E. Ninth St.
"My folks opened it in '72," said Betsy Rollings, owner of Cushing Street Bar & Restaurant. "It's been a family business. My mom used to dance on that bar."
Cushing Street's 2018 closure was originally meant to be temporary for renovation; Rollings wasn't even considering selling the restaurant. However, she started to receive inquiries from interested buyers — one of them was Sally Kane, partner at The Coronet.
"I noticed she wasn't open, so I started texting her," Kane said.
Rollings eventually decided it was time to let go.
"Seventeen years is a long time to do something," Rollings said. "But I always thought I would be there until I was at least seventy. And then I thought, what about the rest of life?"
The Coronet will end their five-year run at the original location on June 2 to begin the process of moving to Cushing Street. The new location is expected to open late summer.
However, they're keeping the original location for a new cocktail bar concept. A week or two after the original Coronet closes, The Libertine will open.
"There will still be food, but smaller offerings and dessert," Kane said. "The patio will become lounge-like and with pub seating."
To top it off, The Coronet's new location at Cushing Street will also feature a new patio cafe: Fonda de la Hermanita.
"I also had a dream with Erika Bostick," Kane said. "We've thought about it for years, something that resembles a Fonda. It will be counter service as opposed to table. If you want to get more coffee, you can just help yourself and fill your cup again."
Bostick, who was executive chef at The Coronet when it first opened, will rejoin the team as chef de cocina of La Hermanita.
"[La Hermanita will be] a place where the guest will enjoy honest and accessible food and drink made with integrity, utilizing local ingredients whenever possible," Bostick said. "The beautiful Barrio Viejo will set the tone for a peaceful breakfast or lunch with friends, an exceptional coffee break, or a quiet respite for a snack and a drink."
The cuisine will be inspired by the rich origins of Mexican gastronomy, Bostick said. Furthermore, familiar flavors will be served with an emphasis on freshness, simple-yet-beautiful plating, and wholesome ingredients. La Hermanita will also proudly serve Caffe Luce coffee and espresso.
Over at the main space of the new Coronet, Moody Elbarasi will remain as executive chef and Devon Alsakkaf will remain as chef de cuisine. With the extra kitchen space, guests can look forward to previously unavailable options, such as a nice grilled steak.
"It's a kind of marriage made in heaven," Kane said. "I think the biggest difference is people can make reservations."
While the kitchen will be more Coronet than Cushing Street, the decor will blend qualities from both places.
"Cleopatra will still be there," Kane said. "And the big glow chandelier. Anything that moves someone's heart will still be in there.
Additionally, live music will remain a focus with a piano or two inside. Some of Kane's fondest memories in Tucson were on Cushing Street's patio with live music.
"The clientele is probably what I'll miss the most," Rollings said. "That is something I'll always treasure, the people I met at Cushing Street."
For more information, visit cafecoronet.com.
Jackie Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran's Fats. Although he...