A new operator has been chosen to run the Tohono Chul Park Tea Room, the breakfast and lunch business set within the Northwest desert park.
Chef Albert Hall and his wife Lila Yamashiro, operators of Acacia at St. Philip's Plaza, have signed a three-year contract for the Tea Room, according to a release.
"We are looking forward to welcoming Albert and Lila," said Joan Donnelly, executive director of the Paseo del Norte park. "They are a dynamic team who bring a wealth of experience and talent with them."
Janet and Paul Blackwell have managed the Tea Room for 12 years. The facility is owned by the park, and managed by a chef of the park's choosing, according to the release.
"The Tea Room is indeed a treasure and we are delighted to be part of a great Tucson tradition," Hall said.
The Tea Room will be closed Tuesday, June 30, for a transition. Regular breakfast and lunch service resumes Sunday, July 5, with a modified menu being served July 1-3. The Tea Room is closed July 4.
A new menu will include some traditional Tea Room favorites as well as many of Chef Hall's signature dishes. The Southwest-inspired menu places "a strong focus on using local, sustainably produced ingredients, and will also offer a variety of options including many vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes."
"We expect to include as many native, seasonal ingredients as we can find – including many that will be grown on the grounds of the park," Hall said. He also plans to conduct cooking classes in the gardens beginning sometime in the fall.
The park hopes the relationship with Hall and Yamashiro "will continue past the initial three-year commitment."