Amado, Arizona is not the kind of place that draws visitors like neighboring Tubac. Located about 45 minutes from Tucson on I-19, the tiny community is home to less than 300 people. And while several movies have been filmed there years back (remember the “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” in the movie ‘Oklahoma’?), these days not a whole lot is happening in Amado.
But last October, chef Gavin Rychner took a leap of faith and opened a restaurant in a little enclave called Amado Territory. He named his place, Firefly.
A couple weeks back, after an article appeared in the Tucson Weekly, my friend Karyn Zoldan, asked me if I wanted to go with her and some other friends to have lunch there.
We left around 11:30 yesterday and had a pleasant drive. I wasn’t driving which made the ride even more pleasant.
There were a few other tables occupied but for the most part the huge main dining room was empty. A few people were on the patio out back. We ate in the tiny bar room in front.
The menu has some interesting items that run the gamut from fried green tomatoes to a salmon gyro, Burgers, salads and soups can also be found.
After picking a starter of fried green tomatoes, I ordered the shrimp and grits. I’m not sure why, but that dish seems to be appearing on menus. I’ve had several versions, all of them different, all of them delicious.
Firefly’s version was outstanding. Tons of perfectly cooked good-sized shrimp swam in a sauce spicy “broth”. Bits of bacon added a sweet, saltiness. There were juicy tomatoes as well.
Karyn order the veggie burger,Marianne had the salmon gyro and Ann, our intrepid driver, had the jambalaya. All raved about their choices.
We opted out of dessert, in spite of our pleasant server’s descriptions.
I hope Firefly succeeds. Chef Rychner has a lot of talent and his passion is apparent. They will need to do some big-time marketing to get folks from Tucson to travel there. Green Valley seems ripe a restaurant like Firefly, as does Tubac, Rio Rico and even Nogales.
I’d recommend a drive to Amado to dine at Firefly. Call for reservations.