Sam Fox – Local Boy Makes the Big Time

Tucson’s culinary grapevine has been abuzz with excitement ever since the word got out that Sam Fox was going to be opening a new restaurant concept in town. Word was that Fox Restaurant Concepts would be moving into the former Grant Road Lumber complex and opening a concept called The Yard with the restaurant Culinary Dropout as part of the project.samfox2

There hasn’t been any news in months, but yesterday’s Arizona Star had an article that pretty much said that as soon as the final details are worked out, construction would begin. Fox is aiming for September and he hopes that the restaurant/entertainment center will spark a mini-renaissance in the area.

I know I’m looking forward to the Culinary Dropout part of it and I hope Fox is right about bringing more people into that area of town. Kingfisher is just down the road and Dante’s Fire is across the street. We’ll all have to wait and see what happens.breadnorth2

But while that’s pretty big news for Tucson there’s even bigger things on the horizon for Sam Fox. (please note the majority of these photos have been liberally lifted from the Fox Restaurant Concepts website. I’ve taken a few, including the cover photo of North Italia’s arancini. It should also be noted that the photos are not the food that will be served.)

Today it was announced that Sam Fox will host a dinner at the James Beard House in New York City on Thursday June 23, 2016.

This is a great honor and who better than Fox to represent Arizona.

Fox will bring six of his chefs, sommelier Regan Jasperregan and his beverage director, Mat Snapp to New York.

Granted the only Fox concept found in Tucson that will be a part of evening is North Italia but still Sam Fox is Tucson bred and he got his start here. We’re might proud.

Here’s the list of chefs and menu complete with wine pairings. It all sounds so delectable.

PASSED APPETIZERS: Little Cleo’s – Chef Clint Woods, VP of Culinary

Sturgeon “Bacon & Eggs”
Quail Egg, Vivace Caviar, Pepper Cress

Crispy Thai Frog Legs
Nam Pla Caramel, Fried Garlic, Toasted Cashew

Peekytoe Crab Brioche
Pickling Spice Aioli, Chive Scape

Pimiento Cheese

WINE PAIRING: Pierre Gimonnet et Fils “Cuvée Gastronome 1er” Brut, Champagne, France 2009

little cleo's

FIRST COURSE: Culinary Dropout – Chef Christopher Wolven

Sonoma Lamb Belly
Artichoke Tartar, Pickled Ramps, Sprouted Grain Croustade, Garden Blooms

WINE PAIRING: Domaines Ott “Clos Mireille” (RosÉ) CÔtes de Provence, France 2015

culinary dropout

SECOND COURSE: Flower Child – Chef Jason Frandsen
Burnt Avocado
Perfect Fava Bean, White Asparagus, Minor’s Lettuce, Yuzu Koshu, Bonito

WINE PAIRING: Hans Wirsching “Iphofer Kronsberg Vineyard” (Silvaner) Kabinett Trocken, Franken, Germany 2014

flower child

THIRD COURSE: True Food KitchenChef Brad Brunin
Wild Chinook Salmon
Smoked Quinoa, Green Garbanzo, Organic Corn, Fresh Japanese Horseradish

WINE PAIRING: Dutton-Goldfield “Fox Block Ten” (Pinot Noir) Russian River Valley, California 2014

FOURTH COURSE: North Italia – Chef Chris Curtiss
Dry Aged Flannery Beef
Sheep’s Milk Agnolotti, Oven Dried Cherry Tomato, Nettle Puree

WINE PAIRING: Clos Mogador (Red Blend) Priorot, Spain 2012


DESSERT: The Henry – Chef Plinio Sandalio

Coconut Rice Pudding
Pandan Ice Cream, Date Caramel, Mango Curd, Cashew “Cracker Jacks”

WINE PAIRING: Château Rieussec Sauternes, Bordeaux, France 2013

the henry


I know we can’t be there in person but the links below are the next best thing.

Sam’s Instagram @samfox_official and Fox Restaurant Concepts @foxrestaurantconcepts.

For a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes for chefs to create a multi-course meal in the same kitchen where Chef Beard entertained friends and taught students for more than a quarter of a century and for a live streaming of the dinner, visit <span “=””><span “=””>.


  1. Maggie Sammons · May 14, 2016

    Come to the neighborhood more often. It’s not ghetto.


  2. Maggie Sammons · May 14, 2016

    The Star didn’t break any news, BTW. This has been “out” since December, and it’s been discussed for about a year.


  3. ritaconnelly · May 14, 2016

    if you’d read carefully I mentioned previous info. Also, when Ada broke the story it wasn’t anywhere near official. He even caught slack for it. I also don’t get you comment about coming to the neighborhood. I you were at all familiar with my work you would know I am a part of the :neighborhood. The comments about reviving the area were Sam’s.


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