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Sat, Feb. 29

Other changes on the bar/restaurant scene

Courier/Jo. L. Keener

Britt Brown, owner and operator of Britt's Place, displays a large salad Thursday at his new location on West Gurley Street, inside the restaurant side of the Cadillac Bar & Grill.

For his restaurant, which seats about 75 patrons and employs a dozen workers, Brown chose English-style fish and chips ($8.95) as his signature dish because, he said, his mother is British and "I saw a need for good fish and chips in this town."

His menu also features a wide variety of appetizers, sandwiches, soups, salads, desserts and other items. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.


Since this past January, Zuma's Woodfire Café on North Montezuma Street has been retooling its image and menu, with an eye toward designing a concept that it can replicate in other locations, said Barry Barbe, general manager and executive chef.

The local restaurant, which celebrated its fifth anniversary earlier this month, is moving away from its "California" look, he said, and taking on a more "New West" image. So far, the most dramatic change is that the restaurant has repainted some of its interior from a faux Navajo White to a bold burgundy along the walls, and a deep brown along the ceilings.

The restaurant, Barbe said, is aiming for a cleaner, more sophisticated look, but wants to retain its relaxed atmosphere. Eventually, he hopes to incorporate some Santa Fe-style ironwork in its doors and windows, and he may convert the bar, currently at the front of the restaurant, into a banquet room.

On the food side of its "repackaging" effort, Zuma's recently changed about 40 percent of its menu, Barbe said, keeping customer favorites such as pizzas and pasta plates and adding about 20 new dishes such as more sandwiches and seafood plates, as well as specialty dishes including a chicken chimichanga ($9.95) and duck tamales ($13.95).


Mary Jane DuPlain, who operated her Courtyard Deli inside the Ponderosa Plaza mall on Iron Springs Road for about three years, recently teamed up with Barbara Liddle to re-launch a second incarnation of the restaurant inside the Liquor Barn on West Goodwin Street.

DuPlain, who opened the Courtyard Deli II at the beginning of August, said that she was having a difficult time trying to survive inside the mostly empty mall, which has lost many of its tenants this past year as its owners continue planning for an extensive renovation.

DuPlain said she wrote a letter to the mall's Beverly Hills, Calif.-based owners, Pacific Development Partners, telling them she was leaving, but would be willing to come back. Since she left this past summer, the owners have locked the doors and cut the utilities to the inside of the mall, she said.

"I hope to go back, but I can't see being there by ourselves," she said. "We really didn't want to leave."

C.C. Ware, who owns the Liquor Barn, ran a deli inside the local liquor store for a few years, DuPlain said, and she was ready to turn it over to someone else. So far, business has been good at her new location, DuPlain said, and she has added more sandwiches, as well as more breads and cheeses, to her menu.


Meanwhile, Desperados, located at 219 N. Cortez St., recently came under new ownership when Jewel Johnson, an engineer technician for 3-5 Systems in Tempe, bought the business earlier this month from Jim Urquhart, who bought a majority ownership interest in the business in February from former owner and operator Alan Niven.

Urquhart, an America West pilot who also co-owns the Cadillac Bar, has an unlisted phone number and was unavailable for comment.

Niven, who opened the local bar three years ago, said he has no hard feelings over the deal. "If it makes Jim happy, I'm happy," he said.

Although he "absolutely" is out of the local bar business, Niven – who has managed big-name bands such as Guns & Roses and Great White – said that he plans to work on a couple of music projects that he started last year.

Johnson, who also has a background in music and in sound engineering, said she is planning to relocate to this area, and she will have a hand in the day-to-day operations at Desperados. It will be her first foray into the bar business.

Although she will leave Desperados "exactly the way it is," she said that she plans to add a music lounge in the back of the bar, where she will book local bands for entertainment.

Johnson said she decided to buy the business because she loves Prescott, and she wants to enhance and be a part of its "hometown" charm and character. Plus, she saw it as a way to help her prepare for her retirement "when it comes."

Contact Chad Simpson at

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