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Bourbon Bent brings Southern comfort food to Main Gate Square

University Boulevard’s newest restaurant and bar offers new flavors to the area
Bourbon+Bent+is+a+new+modern+dive+bar+with+country+vibes+in+the+heart+of+Main+Gate+Square%2C+Tucson%2C+AZ.+A+DJ+booth%2C+upgraded+sound+system%2C+and+flat-screen+TVs+bring+a+modern+element+to+this+historic+Building.
Antonia Muskat, Arizona Sonoran News
Bourbon Bent is a new modern dive bar with country vibes in the heart of Main Gate Square, Tucson, AZ. A DJ booth, upgraded sound system, and flat-screen TVs bring a modern element to this historic Building.

In the heart of University Boulevard, Bourbon Bent is Main Gate Square’s newest restaurant offering a taste of Southern food and cocktails at 820 E. University Blvd.

Nestled amidst the bustling energy of student activity, this eatery promises to be more than just a place to grab a meal or drink – it’s a nostalgic journey to the comforts of home, where hearty dishes and Southern hospitality are emphasized.

Owner Mobeen Moslem is a Tucson native who graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in pharmacy. His father encouraged him to go to school although the restaurant industry was a part of his family.

When the opportunity for space on University Boulevard became available, Moslem asked lifelong friend Rick Cano to be a part of the project. With over 20 years of experience operating restaurants and bars around Tucson, Cano felt confident in this new project.

Cano invited chef Justin Stewart to the team to shape their Southern-inspired menu. With 35 years of experience, he has a passion for comfort food and is best known for it at Wood Nickel Tavern.

With its scratch kitchen, Bourbon Bent, which opened in mid-February, has become a go-to destination for students craving a break from the monotony of fast food.

“It’s a scratch kitchen, so it’s all homemade,” Stewart said. “We make all the sauces, gravy, and mashed potatoes every day. We hand bread our chicken to order and fry our potato chips in-house. We try to do an original spin on everything, even our Not-chos here.”

The menu of down-home favorites, the cozy, inviting ambiance, and the genuine passion for authentic Southern cuisine infuse every aspect of Bourbon Bent, which considers itself more of a warm and welcoming Southern dive bar.

 

Antonia Muskat
Ashlyn Campagna, a bartender at Bourbon Bent, chats with the customers while closing out a tab on Sunday, Feb. 11, in Tucson, Ariz. For the bourbon lover, there is a wide variety of well-known favorites and plenty of new rotating selections to try.

 

From the moment you step inside, you’re greeted by the dark wood floors and the glow of classic neon signs. Cafe Passe formerly occupied the space and is now open at 415 N. 4th Avenue.

“This place was beige from top to bottom, so we decided to bring in some warm woods and lighting,” Cano said. “We wanted to preserve the historical look of this building; it is over 100 years old. When we first walked in here and saw the wood floors and exposed brick, it felt like a saloon.”

The menu showcases Southern cuisine with a modern twist. The classic crispy fried chicken and waffles are served as check-tender sliders on the starter menu. Tender sliced steak is the centerpiece of the Steak Sandy topped with greens and cherry peppers on the sandwich menu. The steak and the chicken and waffles also headline the entree menu, but you might want to save room for dessert: the peach cobbler is a sweet treat adorned with pecans and vanilla ice cream.

“This restaurant is for students, professors, and locals in the area,” Cano said. “We’d like to have something for everyone. We planned the menu to accommodate all budgets.”

The bar offers a mix of themed crafty cocktails. Two of its bestselling drinks are the Porch Swing, a peach whisky with house-made lemonade and black tea; and the Gulf Water, made with rum, tequila, blue curacao, melon and pineapple juice.

 

Pictured is the dishes Not-chos and Crab Cakes. Photo courtesy of Bourbon Bent.
Pictured is the Peachy-Rita cocktail. Photo courtesy of Bourbon Bent.

 

Bourbon Bent holds Happy Hour from 3-6 p.m. daily and hosts “Get Bent Thursdays” on Thursdays from 8 p.m. to close.

“We are also planning on having $10 30-ounce cowboy boots on Wednesdays,” Moslem said. These plastic cowboy boots can be filled with any drink off the cocktail menu.

Bourbon Bent hosts live music nights featuring local talent, themed events celebrating Southern traditions and nightly drink specials.

“The nice thing about our concept is that it’s not a straight country bar; the feel is a little bit country, house, EDM, top 40s, sing-alongs. It’s all about the energy,” Moslem said. “We understand that we’re not a nightclub, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t throw a good party.”

When the weather warms up, Moslem and Cano intend to launch Party on the Porch, where customers have the opportunity to dine on the patio and listen to live music.

The restaurant is open from Monday to Sunday (hours may vary). For the full menu and details, visit bourbonbentaz.com.


Arizona Sonoran News is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.


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