Congress Street Awaits Saint House, Lulu’s Shake Shoppe and New Things for the Rialto Building

August 16, 2012

By Teya Vitu

The people behind the popular HUB Restaurant & Ice Creamery, Playground Lounge, 47 Scott and Scott & Co., and the Rialto Exhibition Center are ready to make their next moves as soon as streetcar construction wraps up on Congress Street.

Saint House will go into the former Shark’s Lounges space.

All of it revolves around the empire of Scott Stiteler, owner of the Congress Street properties on both sides of the street between Fifth Avenue and the Arizona Avenue alley and co-owner of the Rialto Exhibition Center building across from Hotel Congress.

A new life is coming for the Rialto Exhibition Center, hints Stiteler, who co-owns the building with Don Martin.

“We couldn’t have scripted that better to have four exhibitions in succession,” Stiteler said.

But time has come for perhaps something else in the historic building attached to the Rialto Theatre.

Stiteler has eight spaces ranging from 800 to 1,500 square feet on the three blocks. So far, eateries of one sort or another fill much of his holdings in the One North Fifth Apartments commercial space at 245 E. Congress and across the street from 256 E. Congress to 278 E. Congress.

“I’ve been very mindful to keep space open for retail,” Stiteler said.

“That’s highly coveted,” he said about the vacant space between HUB and Playground. All of his available space garners interest but he has never rushed to lease to just any business. “I get lots of offers. I’m waiting for that eureka moment when I say ‘perfect.’”

Kade Mislinski is at it again, too, in his share of Stiteler’s property, this time with what he’s calling Lulu’s Shake Shoppe, 270 E. Congress St.

Mislinski is the out-of-the-box visionary behind Playground Lounge, where he recreated the pleasures of the childhood playground, and HUB Restaurant & Ice Creamery, where ice cream gets equal billing with beef and beer.

Lulu’s follows the same scratch-your-head wackiness. The name may be shake shoppe but Mislinski sees it as a cross between a little league baseball snack bar (expect hot dogs) and a French fry/falafel stand in Amsterdam, where fries come with mayonnaise.

Saint House is two space over from HUB (behind the trees), where Lulu’s Shake Shoppe will be serving out of a window at the back.

Lulu’s will have four standard shake flavors and two special flavors every day.

Lulu’s will be located behind HUB, serving out of the same window as Chocolate Fox. Chocolate Fox will continuing delivering chocolate creations during the day, and Lulu’s will do its thing from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. seven days a week.

“I think we need a pick-up window. We need a snack bar Downtown.”

Lulu’s Shake Shoppe opens for business on Oct. 15 at 5 p.m.

Travis Reese and Nicole Flowers are finally ready for their Congress Street debut after two years on a stretch of Scott Avenue that an Olympic long jumper could leap sidewalk-to-sidewalk.

Reese and Flowers instantly became media darlings when they opened 47 Scott in May 2010, followed next door with Scott & Co. in October 2010.

Sunset magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, the Los Angeles times and numerous airline magazines have short-listed 47 Scott as a Tucson dining must.

“I just got an email. Food & Wine wants to do something,” Reese said.

Travel and dining media will undoubtedly have more to write about once Reese and Flowers open their Saint House, 256 E. Congress, in the former Sharks Lounge location at the westernmost extent of Stiteler’s Congress holdings.

“We have just been wanting to work with Scott because he has such a vision,” Reese said. “We wanted to work with people doing such great projects. 47 Scott was always supposed to be the start of something. We never knew what.”

They have dreamed up a Caribbean theme for Congress Street.

“Saint House is based on cuisine where rum is made from Venezuela to Miami,” Reese said. “We are encompassing food from that region. We wanted to do something unique.”

Reese said the ambition is to open Saint House before the gem show.

“January 1 would make us happy. Jan. 20 would make us just as happy,” Reese said.