With Help From His New Partners, Julian Wright Is Taking Over Mill Avenue: Revitalizing Robbie Fox, Re-Opening Canteen as El Hefe Super-Macho Taqueria and Opening a Tiny New Speakeasy Called Nickel

Categories: Buchanan, News

julianwright.jpg
Courtesy of Julian Wright
You really do have to wonder if Mill Avenue mogul Julian Wright (who owns La Bocca Urban Pizzeria, Canteen Modern Tequila and The Handlebar on that street) ever sleeps. The restaurateur and CEO of Fork & Dagger Restaurant Group just opened Gringo Star Street Bar (also on Mill) not much more than two weeks ago, and earlier this spring, he debuted Modern Margarita in CityNorth.

See also:
-- Just in Time For Summer: Julian Wright's Gringo Star Street Bar Is Open in Tempe
-- Robbie Fox's Public House Is a Great Bar, But Is It a Great Restaurant?

And already, he has three more ideas for turning Tempe's main drag into the Wright Stuff. Here's how he plans to stay busy for the next few months.

RobbieFox-exterior.jpg
Courtesy of Juilian Wright
Robbie Fox Public House exterior

Project One:
A few weeks ago (right around the time he was opening Gringo Star, in fact), Wright and his new 50-50 partners Ryan Hibbert, John Wright and Mike Troyan (who own El Hefe Super Macho Taqueria in Scottsdale) bought Robbie Fox's Public House, which they plan to revitalize.

Wright says he and his partners plan to "breathe new life" into Robbie Fox -- ironically, by taking it back to its original concept: an Irish pub. The first order of business? Scrap the DJ's for Irish bands. In fact, a band has been booked for this coming Saturday.

Meanwhile, the large menu (which, Wright says, was becoming more and more watered down from its original Irish inflection), will be reduced, featuring half Irish specialties and half American dishes. Recipes, he says, will also be tweaked for improvement.

He promises a nice brunch down the road and he's toying around with the idea of adding games as "something to keep people occupied." He says he and his partners will also do some renovating, possibly adding garage doors and opening up the small, seldom used front room. We're going to "throw more love" into the concept, Wright says, adding that they hope to roll out many of their ideas this very week.

"I love partnering with people and these guys are young and full of ideas," Wright says.


Location Info

La Bocca Urban Pizzeria and Wine Bar

699 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ

Category: Music

Canteen Modern Tequila Bar - CLOSED

640 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ

Category: Music

The Handlebar Tempe

680 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Gringo Star Street Bar

501 South Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ

Category: General

El Hefe Super Macho Taqueria

4425 N. Saddlebag Trail, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Music

Robbie Fox's Public House - CLOSED

640 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, AZ

Category: Music


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10 comments
sharon.forsmo1
sharon.forsmo1

I live in Phoenix and don't frequent Mill Ave much but I love that he's bringing live music back to Mill (I'm 55 and remember Mill in the 70's). Irish bands? Love it. Acoustic music at Nickel? Love it. Hope the students will support it too!

leonardherndon
leonardherndon

Julian, 

I was just as surprised as you are. It happened this Friday at Gringo Star. Me, my buddy and four ladies were  getting our ID's checked. The bouncer allowed half of our group in then rejected me because of "hi top shoes." If we were in Scottsdale I would have understood, but right next to a college campus not so much. I have been going to Mill Avenue for nearly 6 years now, so I figured I knew what was appropriate attire until this weekend. I would love to chat with you sometime about it. Leonardherndon@gmail.com

julianwright
julianwright

Leonard, I honesty don't think we've ever kicked anyone out for wearing hi top shoes.  I like hi top shoes.  But get ahold of me if you like and I will personally make sure it doesn't happen again.

Eleanor, every business I've opened on Mill was a transaction done in the private sector.   Explain exactly how the City of Tempe votes in my favor.  Also, no love for the millions I've invested in the downtown or hundreds of people I've employed, most of which were ASU students?  Not sure where the animosity comes from.

julianwright
julianwright

Leonard, I honesty don't think we've ever kicked anyone out for wearing hi top shoes.  I like hi top shoes.  But get ahold of me if you like and I will personally make sure it doesn't happen again.

Eleanor, every business I've opened on Mill was a transaction done in the private sector.   Explain exactly how the City of Tempe votes in my favor.  Also, no love for the millions I've invested in the downtown or hundreds of people I've employed, most of which were ASU students?  Not sure where the animosity comes from.

tking5830
tking5830

Good for him... El Hefe on Mill will be intense LOL

leonardherndon
leonardherndon

So this is the guy that had me kicked out because I was wearing Hi top shoes on Mill... interesting...

Eleanor_Holguin
Eleanor_Holguin

Let's not forget his buddies at City Hall...the ones who keep voting to allow him to take over Mill Avenue.

julianwright
julianwright

That's really weird.  We pride ourselves at Gringo Star especially for being funky.  I would think we would let you in even if you were wearing thigh high sparkly boots.

I'll look into it for you.

julianwright
julianwright

We've never kicked out anyone for wearing high top shoes.  I like high top shoes.  

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