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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Pasco classes up University Blvd.

    Valentina Martinelli / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Andrew Record, the general manager for Pasco Kitchen and Lounge stands in front of a commissioned work by local graffiti artist Roland.  The piece exemplifies Pascos goal of mixing the comfort farm style with an urban flair.
    Valentina Martinelli
    Valentina Martinelli / Arizona Daily Wildcat Andrew Record, the general manager for Pasco Kitchen and Lounge stands in front of a commissioned work by local graffiti artist Roland. The piece exemplifies Pasco’s goal of mixing the comfort farm style with an urban flair.

    How do you get the pancake smell out of Café Paraiso? For the owners of Pasco Kitchen & Lounge, the new eatery on 820 E. University Blvd. that occupies the old Paraiso building, the answer was simple: replace it with fresh veggies and fresh paint.

    “”We got a local graffiti artist, Roland, to tag stuff from junk sales and bring it all back to the restaurant,”” said Pasco’s general manager, UA alumnus Andrew Record.

    Pasco, which opened in mid-February, serves self-proclaimed urban farm fare with a premiere Tucson chef at the helm. Its early claim to fame is a menu derived almost exclusively from the output of local farms.

    Record, a former member of the Arizona Students’ Association and with degrees in English and creative writing, was propelled into the restaurant business by a job at 58 degrees & Holding Company, a now-closed local winery.

    Wildlife chatted with Record about the influences behind Pasco’s flavor and his hopes for the future of the restaurant.

     

    When and how did Pasco open?

    We had our soft opening on Valentine’s Day and we went full board a week ago. The chef and owner is Ramiro Scavo. He’s spent the last five years building up personal relationships with farmers in the area.

    How much of your food is local?

     

    Around 90 percent of our food is from local sources. We have contracts for goats, sheep, lambs, eggs. The only thing we don’t get locally is fish. Maybe if the Gadsden Purchase had worked out differently, we’d have an ocean a little bit closer (laughs). But we do also have a great relationship with Sleeping Frog Farms (a fruit and vegetable farm in Cascabel, Ariz.).

     

    What’s the atmosphere of the restaurant like?

    The feel is new American comfort food with a fresh farm twist. The name might not be familiar, or all the ingredients, but as soon as you put that first fork in your mouth, it all comes back. It’s like something your mother used to make.

    Same thing with the cocktails as well. We bring in fresh produce. We make our own jellies and syrups. We’re not content with just giving people a spirit and a mixer.

    How does the architecture support that?

    It all comes back to urban farm. This is an old building, I think first built as apartments. So, the first thing we did is expose the brick on the walls. Some parts of the floor were covered in linoleum and why? It’s beautiful wood flooring from the 1920s.  

    What else distinguishes Pasco from some of the other places on University Boulevard?

    We were really encouraged because, during the construction process, we spent a lot of time at Wilko and we were really encouraged by their clientele. It’s something a little bit more upscale but still relaxed.

    It’s elegant, it’s warm; it’s full of hospitality but still really casual and really approachable. And it’s really great to be back on campus. We always have the ‘Cats playing. We have red shirts for the staff to wear on game days.

    We also do late-night menus, so on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, we have one of the latest kitchens in Tucson; we’re open until 1:30 a.m.

    We’re not trying to price anybody out. We’re aware of the students, the professors, the neighbors, the Foothills. We want everyone to be able to walk in here.

    So … what’d we think?

    Pasco is pretty, but not pretentious. The farm aesthetic is clear when you walk in. Water and cocktails are served in Mason jars. Tables made from old barn doors contrast the more modern touches of sleek lighting, minimalist furniture and crystal chandeliers in the back room.

    The menu definitely developed from the soft opening to the grand opening. Our first trip brought us chicken and dumplings, $7, and tater tots, $5. Both were solid fare, polite food, but not nearly as fully formed as the Pasco Bacon and Eggs, $7.

    It wasn’t just breakfast food. The Panko-crusted poached egg crowned a pile of pork belly-esque, thick-cut bacon with slices of granny smith apple, French toast and buttery syrup. It’s a dish viable for noon or midnight munchies.

    Although the food is polite, Pasco is a place where shouting at the UA game on TV and having a quiet Sunday brunch are both options.

    When Record says, “”We’re not trying to price anybody out,”” he means it. The University Boulevard standard price for a meal and a drink lays around $7.00. Upper-class food at the same price as some pizza slices or cheesy fries at another area restaurant is sure to earn Pasco a regular crowd, much like Wilko.

    Been there twice, and happy to go again.

    A-

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