PHOENIX — It is official: Eegee’s, the Tucson-based fast-food joint with a cult-like following known for its frozen fruit-flavored drinks and seasoned fries, is coming back to Phoenix.
Eegee’s confirmed Friday in a news release that it would open five restaurants in the Valley — two locations in Gilbert, plus individual locations in Mesa, Phoenix, and Scottsdale beginning in the second quarter of 2021.
The announcement comes a week after ABC15 first reported that Eegee’s had filed plans or begun conversations to open at least three locations in Gilbert, Mesa and Phoenix.
Specific locations within each of those cities were not announced. But, according to city economic departments, Eegee’s has expressed interest in the following locations:
- Gilbert: Filed a permit to modify an old Arby’s location near Val Vista Drive and Baseline Road
- Mesa: Submitted a pre-submittal application to open a restaurant near U.S. 60 and Crismon Road.
- Phoenix: Had a pre-application meeting regarding a location near 35th and Peoria avenues.
Ron Petty, CEO and partner of eegee's, told ABC15 in a phone interview on Friday afternoon that the Scottsdale location would be located near Odysea Aquarium and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, part of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
"For us to continue to grow, we have to go to a new market and the next logical place to go is Phoenix. If you look at the numbers, we have 33 stores, we’ll probably end up with 36 stores in Tucson in a population of a million people. That’ll give you a feel for how many stores potentially we could put up here when you have 5 1/2 million people," he said.
He also said that eegee's has additional sites being considered or under contract in the southeast, west, and northern parts of the Valley.
"We’re being very strategic in how we approach it," he said, referring to the expansion plans.
At last check, no applications had been filed yet in Scottsdale, Chandler, Glendale or Tempe, according to their city spokespersons.
Eegee's was founded in 1971 in Tucson by Ed Irving and Bob Greenberg. The name eegee's is the combined initials of both Ed's first name and Bob's last name, said Petty.
The restaurant chain was sold in 2006 to CEO Foods, a restaurant group based in Southern California, and was sold again in 2018 to 39 North Capital and Kitchen Fund.
In the 1980s or 1990s, Eegee’s did have a few locations in the Phoenix area, a spokesperson previously confirmed to ABC15, but those locations have since closed.
There are a handful of places in Phoenix -- mostly sandwich shops -- that carry some of eegee's frozen drinks, such as Zzesty Zzeeks Pizza & Wings, Blimpie, Brooklyn Mike’s Subs, Samurai Sam’s, and a few Water and Ice stores.
Eegee’s has 24 locations in the Tucson area and one in Casa Grande, the closest location to Phoenix. Earlier this month, eegee's announced its plans to open seven more locations in Tucson, including a new prototype design using shipping containers.
In addition to their slush drinks, the menu features sandwiches, grinders, salads, hot dogs, and seasoned fries.
For updates on the Phoenix expansion, eegee's has created a website where people can sign up to be on their email list, http://www.eegees.com/phx.