Scottsdale’s New SurpriseJuly 9, 2009 By: Bryan Bass
With more than eight successful years under its belt, Scottsdale, Ariz.’s popular Barcelona Steakhouse & Nightclub temporarily closed its doors last month for a multimillion-dollar facelift spearheaded by famed hospitality designer Dodd Mitchell. The long-standing operation featured a steakhouse-styled eatery that transformed into a popular nightlife haunt on the weekends and an adjacent sushi lounge, Sutra Sushi, which allowed guests to flow back and forth through the venues.
Upon hearing the venue was closing, rumors quickly swirled through the Valley of the Sun that the closing was due to financial reasons, although those rumors were quickly shot down by Heather Hendon, the ownership company’s vice president of operations, and director of marketing and promotions, Lynze Shuman. “We will be closed for 90 days — that’s it,” Hendon adamantly states, directing a slight chuckle at the rumormongers.
“We have had a terrific run in the Scottsdale area for the last eight years,” Shuman adds, “We have a great customer base and wanted to offer a new experience to our guests.” It’s a sentiment that Hendon quickly reinforced, saying: “With the current economic climate, many people are choosing to stay home until they see a recovery, and a lot of our customers from the Scottsdale area are away during the summer months; it was the perfect opportunity to seize the moment and make the change. When the economy does turn around and those people start going out again, we will be ready with a brand-new product and brand-new experience for them. Fortunately for us, we have the manpower and ability to undergo a change like this, in a time like this.”
While both Hendon and Shuman quickly hushed when asked about details on the new venue, they did offer a small glimpse into the plans, sharing exclusively with Nightclub Confidential that the Barcelona name will not return, the restaurant portion of the space will hold a larger portion of the footprint than before, and a bar and nightclub component will remain within the space. “The new venue will be something that this area does not currently have,” Shuman notes. “We will definitely be filling a void and that’s one reason why we are keeping a lot of the details quiet; we want to build anticipation for what we have coming.”
Another reason some of the specific design details are being kept under wraps is the constantly swirling creative brilliance of Mitchell, one of the West Coast’s more ballyhooed designers. He has overseen successful projects in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Reno and Los Cabos, Mexico, including the rebirth of the raved about Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, L.A. hot-spot Dolce and Innovative Dining’s Sushi Roku empire. “He is here and bunkered up working on the project,” Hendon confirms, before adding, “He is truly a creative genius — the concept is constantly evolving and each day brings better ideas than the one before it.”
While North Scottsdale has had the same ups and downs as most neighborhoods around the country, Shuman says she hopes the project will serve as good news to the community. “This is a very positive thing for North Scottsdale,” she says. With Mitchell behind the creative vision and the operators who successfully made Barcelona such a hit for most of the past decade still in place, it looks like it will be a very good thing for the community.