Rio Nuevo Enables Las Vegas Celebrity Chefs to Open Downtown Tucson Restaurant
Chef Antonio Nunez of Las Vegas appeared at the most recent Rio Nuevo meeting with a request to support approximately half of the renovation costs for his team to take over and operate the former Funky Monk, at the entrance to downtown. The new restaurant and lounge will be called 350 Congress and promises to bring some of Nunez’s signature dishes and cocktails to Tucson.
Spanning a 30-year career as a rising star with unique menus and artistic dishes, Chef Nunez has helped to launch some of the most iconic restaurants in Nevada and London. He currently owns and operates four popular and highly rated restaurants in Las Vegas.
Chef Nunez was one of the original chefs at Le Cirque and then executive chef at Primo at age 24. He worked in the kitchens of Guy Savoy, STK and Caesars Palace before starting his own restaurant. His business partner Scott Cummings was the season 12 winner of Hell’s Kitchen and then went on to work for Gordon Ramsay. He eventually became the executive chef at Ramsay’s Pub and Grill at Caesars Palace and most recently as the executive chef for Lake Las Vegas.
Their recognition in Nevada includes Best Brunch, Best Up-and-Coming Chef and Best New Restaurant, going up against every celebrity chef in the world.
The remodeled restaurant will replace the large bar with open seating and a sit down venue, converting to music after hours. “This will no longer be a college bar, with beer pong and dollar beers,” Nunez said as he described dishes like charred cactus bruschetta, lobster ceviche, egg shooters with caviar and a Kentucky fried Bahn Mi.
Rio Nuevo voted unanimously to provide a grant of $150,000 to help accelerate the renovation and welcomed Chef Nunez to Tucson.