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Owners sell Fuego; popular Tucson eatery to become pub

Chef Alan Zeman was already well-known in Tucson culinary circles when he opened his restaurant over 10 years ago.

Chef Alan Zeman was already well-known in Tucson culinary circles when he opened his restaurant over 10 years ago.

Firkin Irish Pub will open in the spot occupied by Fuego restaurant in two or three months.

That information is on this morning’s phone message at Fuego, whose owners Alan and Miki Zeman today announced via e-mail their restaurant’s closure and sale.

Chef-owner Alan Zeman announced today in an e-mail that he and wife Miki have sold the restaurant at 6958 E. Tanque Verde Road to James Lengel and Richard McKnight of the Firkin Group of Pubs.

Though the Ontario, Canada-based Firkin Group’s Web site, www.firkinpubs.com, says the chain has four pubs in development in metro Tucson, it gives no details. Calls to the company spokesman were not immediately returned.

Firkin Group has 33 pubs in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, with dozens under development.

Fuego gift certificates will be honored by the Metro Restaurant group, which includes Old Pueblo Grill, McMahon’s Prime Steakhouse and Metropolitan Grill. The Zemans’ e-mail says more details on that will soon be posted on the Fuego Web site.

The e-mail says Fuego is keeping its Web site, fuegorestaurant.com, and e-mail address, email@fuegorestaurant.com.

Alan “Z-man” Zeman’s products, including Sonoran Seasoning, Fuego Red and Prickly Pear Barbecue Glaze are available online or by calling 751-1039.

Zeman continues his radio program, “Restaurant No Spin Zone” on KJLL AM radio 1330, 5-6 p.m. Thursdays with Richard Tyler.

Since the Zemans opened Fuego in January 1996, it has gotten positive reviews for its inventive Southwestern cuisine.

In the Zemans’ e-mail, they thanked patrons and noted, “It is a bittersweet time for the Zemans and all of the talented Fuego service and culinary team.”

This story will be updated as details become available.

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