PHOENIX — Nearly a year after the Hard Rock Cafe closed its doors in downtown Phoenix, ending a 25-year run, another restaurant is in the works to take its place.
Scott and Melissa McIntire, who own The Lola at Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale, have partnered with New York-based East Coast Saloons to open The Ainsworth, an upscale American restaurant and lounge, in downtown Phoenix, near Second and Jefferson streets and across from the Phoenix Suns Arena.
The Ainsworth has four restaurants in New York and others in Hoboken, New Jersey, Nashville, Tennessee, and Louisville, Kentucky.
Scott McIntire told ABC15 that he and his team were looking to expand The Lola brand and found The Ainsworth concept and thought it was a good mix of what The Lola offered with more of a sports and entertainment vibe.
"We wanted to create something that was our award-winning brunch with The Lola. But give it more of a sports bar-event-entertainment vibe, and definitely give it that upscale feel," he said.
"We have complete creative control over everything. So we're gonna do a lot of our award-winning items. We'll obviously tweak some of it for the downtown location and give it a little Ainsworth edge," he said.
Two of The Ainsworth's specialties are the 24 karat gold wings, which are dusted with an edible gold leaf, and its mac and cheese burger. The menu also features a variety of American classics, such as flatbreads, nachos, sliders, quesadillas, as well as sandwiches, salads, burgers, and a few steak options.
They might add some more gold-dusted items to the menu, too. The Lola's brunch menu will also be showcased at the downtown Phoenix location, he said.
The front entrance is going to move to Second Street and garage-style doors will be installed giving the restaurant an indoor-outdoor feel. He said the current front entrance, which sits off Jefferson Street, will be replaced with garage doors and the patio will be extended.
They plan to add a New York-style canopy over the main entrance. The inside will have a mix of bar seats, low booths, and tables, chandeliers, and a wall of TVs to show current games.
As long as construction stays on track, McIntire said he hoped to open for a "soft" opening in mid-May, followed by a larger grand opening. A specific opening date has not been announced.
They are looking to fill at least 30 positions for both the dining room and kitchen. Those interested can email firstname.lastname@example.org or attend open interviews at the Phoenix location on April 6 and 7 from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
For updates, their website is www.theainsworth.com/phoenix.