Danny Cordova is not exactly what you’d consider a restaurateur.
His experience is primarily in real estate, and when he acquired the closed-down midtown bar in 2015, his initial goal was to build up the establishment and quickly sell it. Four years later, his one-time investment has become a long-term passion project.
After just over four years, The Neighborhood has evolved into a beloved local establishment with a strong following, exciting sports-themed interior, an eclectic selection of drinks, and savory bar food that’s made from scratch.
“It wasn’t something I was pursuing. It was an investment property for me. So I had planned to open it up, get the kitchen going and then sell it in a year,” said Danny Cordova.
However, sometimes an unexpected opportunity blossoms into a newfound love.
As the process of developing the Neighborhood continued, and the bar started to develop the electric atmosphere it’s currently known for, Cordova realized that this location may be more long-term than he had anticipated.
“I’ve been in real estate for a while, so I had always enjoyed playing with ideas of decor, like different cutters and tile,” Cordova said . “I didn’t have a plan that was set in stone, I just kind of went with what I liked and what people were responding to.”
An excellent and strikingly visual example of Cordova’s creative touch can be found in the newly installed custom bar counter top, which features a slick penny laminate containing roughly $250 worth of pennies— that’s around 25,000 copper coins.
The spacious interior design includes plenty of comfortable seating, too, with several large flat-screen TV’s spread across the bar area.
You can bet 25,000 pennies that the bar is often crammed with sports fans catching a game or patrons simply having a casual night out.
The innovative decor, which Cordova is proud to have built from the ground up, is not the only thing that attracts Tucsonans.
“Our kitchen flavor is very unique to us. We try to do everything in-house, so everything from our sauces to our tortillas we make from scratch.”
As a result of this commitment to fresh, homemade flavor, The Neighborhood’s menu options have a reputation that doesn’t conform to the stereotypes of average bar food.
Their chicken wings are healthily sized, properly fried, and doused with a punch and crunch of flavor that ranges from their traditionally spicy Classic Buffalo, to their sweet and tangy Sriracha Sesame.
Their Street Tacos can be ordered individually and the burgers continue to gain significant notoriety as consistent fan favorites. When you first lay your eyes on the Surf N' Turf Burger, you're greeted with a meal that's traveled from both the land and sea, but making sure you've got a napkin should be your first priority.
It'd also be wise to grab a cerveza to douse the flames from the bacon-wrapped jalapeño conveniently skewered to the top of the bun.
The true pinnacle of what The Neighborhood offers - and where Cordova feels they’ve truly applied their creative touch - is in their dazzling cocktail selection.
If you’re looking for a classic you can’t go wrong by ordering the Mangoyada.
The classic, Mexican-inspired beverage really takes the cake with its refreshing blend of mango, lime juice, tamarind, chamoy — a salty, sweet, sour, and spicy paste — and a rim topped with Tajín.
Another solid option are their Patrónaritas: a variety of tasty margaritas made with Patrón Tequila.
Each order of Patrónaritas is served in a flight of customized, miniature bottles, which are made specifically for The Neighborhood and shipped directly from the source — Patrón headquarters.
However, The Neighborhood’s claim to fame is its famous and award-winning Neighborhood Michelada, another authentic Mexican drink that has found itself at the top of the list in local competitions.
The massive drink comes with your cerveza of choice, served with a mixture of tomato juice, spices, and decorated with spicy Mexican candy. It's practically a small meal or hefty snack in a glass.
After a few years of ownership, Danny Cordova admits that he has no intention to sell The Neighborhood any time soon.
In fact, his intentions are quite the opposite.
They’ve got big ideas in the works and are planning to expand the front section of the restaurant to accommodate more space, and also provide an even more modern aesthetic to their interior. You can expect to see the new changes soon as Cordova is hopeful they can complete the project by the summer of 2020.
The Neighborhood is located at 3940 E. 29th St. You can grab a bite and a drink on Monday from 3 - 10 p.m., Tuesday from 11 a.m. - Midnight, Wednesday from 11 a.m. - 1 a.m., Thursday - Saturday from 11 a.m. - 2 a.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. For more information, visit The Neighborhood on Facebook.