Editor’s observe: This story was initially printed in Might. We’re republishing the story in November as a result of Cafe Passe has formally reopened its doorways. Hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for now, however 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. hopefully quickly.
Cafe Passe has all the time contained greater than passersby on Fourth Avenue would be capable to see. Their modest storefront belies their sprawling patio, with its alcoves, mesquite bushes and slotted wood flooring.
Prospects might use the cafe like a to-go espresso bar, however they’d be lacking out on what makes the spot quintessentially Tucson: our unfussiness within the filth flooring and wood tables, our magnificence within the historic touches and well-cared for crops, our neighborhood in every single place.
Cafe Passe, 415 N. Fourth Ave., has been closed for a yr: 9 months later than proprietor Jenny Rice had in thoughts when she closed for kitchen updates final Might. Her tremendous compares constructing to a puzzle: not solely do you want the best items, however that you must have them on the proper time.
“I nonetheless have large holes within the drywall within the lavatory as a result of I can’t shut them up as a result of the electrician has to complete his job so I can’t paint,” Jenny stated.
Earlier than the rework, every thing on the menu — from the French toast to the breakfast sandwiches — was cooked by a couple of scorching plates and a microwave. Although little or no has modified to the cafe’s bodily look, its innards have been nearly fully reworked.
“I discovered a lot about development within the final yr,” Jenny stated. “I do know in every single place each pipe, wire, flooring, you already know, what’s underneath my flooring, what’s in my ceiling, what’s on my roof. I do know every thing about that constructing now.”
The cafe has a brand new sewer line and can quickly have new electrical wiring. But the one house the place prospects will discover the transformation is on the bar: it will likely be smaller, to make room for the brand new full-hood, six-burner grill and two ovens within the kitchen.
“It’s going to be a wholly totally different bar; lovable, the cutest bar you’ve ever seen. It’s extra of a lounge than a bar,” Jenny stated. “I’m not attempting to compete with Che’s or Royal Room or The Buffet or Mr. Heads. It’s a spot to sit down and chat along with your girlfriends or deliver a date and sit and benefit from the house and the meals and all that I’ve to supply.”
Jenny is adorning the brand new lounge with reclaimed and donated supplies, like a buddy’s wood fence used to line the ceiling, her sister’s chandelier and her greatest buddy’s outdated granite countertop for the bar itself.
These main, expensive renovations, although, have been in service of the historic house and its menus: the kitchen will probably be prepared for dinner service.
“So I’m going to have a variety of the issues I had on the menu earlier than,” Jenny stated. “However the greatest change is that I’m going to have a fryer: French fries and burgers and y’know, dinners like pot roast and meatloaf and albondigas.”
“I’m principally basing this menu on how I grew up. Mexican Americana. My mother is Mexican. I grew up on conventional Mexican meals. My dad is a gringo, so on his aspect we have been doing meatloaf and pot roast. It’s a mix of who I’m,” she stated.
When the cafe reopens, the hours will look totally different. “We have been solely open till, I believe we closed at 2:30, and I used to be closed two days every week,” Jenny stated. With the dinner menu, Cafe Passe will probably be open till 9 or 10 p.m.
Extra hours imply longer nights spent with buddies underneath Cafe Passe’s mesquite bushes and moonlight, nevertheless it additionally means extra workers: Jenny solely wanted six folks earlier than. Now, she wants a full unfold — from dishwashers to line cooks to kitchen managers.
She’ll begin hiring as quickly as the main development has wrapped up, which she’s anticipating by the top of the month. “I would want a pair weeks to organize,” Jenny stated. “So I might rent after which 10-14 days later, I might open.”
That timeline locations the opening in mid-to-late June, however we will begin the official countdown as soon as we see Cafe Passe publish about hiring on Instagram. “My subsequent publish will probably be about hiring,” she stated.
“I’m overwhelmed, I’m excited. I’m exhausted,” Jenny stated. “I lay in mattress at night time fascinated about being open. I visualize folks being there, plates clinking and other people chatting, however I’m not there but.”
“I need everybody to know that I’ve actually missed being on Fourth,” Jenny stated. “As a lot as they may miss Passe, Passe misses them, too.”