Aardcore 
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Updated on June 30, 2011 at 1:19 PM

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Re: “Slow Shish Kebabs

Oh boy, here we go...

It's been three years since I've taken a look at a disappointing review/editorial from Tucson Weekly, then lo and behold, here I am seeing it happen all over again. Is this review seriously about Shish Kebab House? 21+ years 1993 established Shish Kebab House? The same Shish Kebab House which periodically has a full house of company eager for some gyros, kebabs and all sorts of insanely good meals? THE SAME Shish Kebab House where pretty much everyone who's been disappointed in Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food here in Tucson seem to always and somehow find their way at its doorstep?

Yeah, it's tucked away in a little corner of Broadway Parc Plaza just across the street from Park Place Mall, and it is one of the best damn places you can go to for Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food. It is a multicultural gem where ethnicities across the entire spectrum come to enjoy! The Shish Kebab House is a bonafide melting pot where everyone in Tucson can get together and enjoy a common universal: REALLY. GOOD. FOOD.

All these previous comments pretty much roll in this restaurant's favor anyway, because clearly something is not jibing if and when the majority of the time I hear about this place, there's nothing but positivity. I remember not too long ago when the gem show was here in town and I ran into these Iranians who were visiting during the time hosting a venue, and they told me about how they'd been to all sorts of other places in town, desperate for their own particular middle eastern palette... and then they found the Shish Kebab House. I caught up with these guys again and they had nothing but good things to say. I asked them how it was? They took a moment to collect themselves as they laughed, smiled and looked at one another. One of them looked like he was about to cry, and then one of them passionately spoke out for rest of them, "The best food we have tried in town."

I could tell everyone more stories about these sort of run-ins and accolades about SKH, but I'm pretty sure as more comments pour in they'll most likely be in SKH's favor, doing my job for me.

Also, I can't believe that there's an issue with the rice, or rather, the amount you get, compared to the rest of the meal. In the Middle Eastern culture, much like many other cultures, RICE is an indispensable part of the meal and often comes en masse because it helps stretch out the rest of the meal, it's not an excuse or a ploy to just add quantity to the meal, it's just the way it is because THAT'S THE WAY IT IS. As a Filipino, I know exactly where this is coming from, because it is the same exact thing. And I've been around enough Hindus to know that's also true! "Rice goes with everything!" If there's a culture out there that doesn't use some sort of carb, fiber or starch to help stretch out a meal, by all means tell me and educate everyone else in the process. And do not come back to me talking about how people should watch what they're eating, being on a diet or that carbs are terrible for you--YOU ARE GOING TO A RESTAURANT! You are there to indulge in what that place has to offer, because it is doing their best at what it does!

This review is also unfair and significantly disproportionate because it isn't covering all the bases of the restaurant. Of the two occasions visited, what time did they go to the Shish Kebab House? At no point is the lunch hour specials mentioned, and I know they keep a rather large sign outside in the front during those hours when it happens (from opening till 2pm I believe...); so either the reviewer dismissed it completely, didn't go during lunch hour, or decided to pick out a majority of the "pricier" items from the main menu. I mean if this is gonna get into the whole "cost effective" aspect of it all, why not bring it up?

Talking about the dated interior and dingy aspect of the restaurant; you know who I ran into while I was there not too long ago? A couple who was visiting Tucson and hadn't been in town for over 10 years and showed up just to see if the Shish Kebab House was still around. To their amazement, it was. And it was, from their lips, "exactly the way they remembered it," and they didn't complain about it at all. In fact, it seemed to put them in a state of wonderment. Like stepping back in time and remembering a point in history that made sense or stirred up feelings of endearment. Before the couple even settled in, they wandered around, smiling, pointing out at items and things they hadn't seen in so long, blissful in disbelief that the Shish Kebab House remained at its core. They even asked if the place was under new management, to which I was happy to reply, "No sir and ma'am, this place is still under the same people who found it."

Never have I heard the words, "REALLY?" be said about a particular location with such amazement in my current life.

Some people, actually, MANY, have fallen in love with this place, long before anyone could make judgments and have practically grown up with this restaurant. We're talking about 21+ years of commitment to pleasing Tucson here. Frequent customers who have in turn become friends with the family, coming in asking about the owners' son and daughters. Regulars coming in knowing exactly what they want, and have been ordering the SAME dish for years--and out of some of these people, some of them don't even know what else is on the menu because they've been dedicated to that one or two dishes for that long. If that isn't dedication? I don't know what is...

I'm gonna stop right here though, because I'm pretty sure I don't need to go on... after all that's said and done here, yeah, this is one's person perspective, a rather opinionated and short-lived one that barely even scratches the surface of a restaurant that has pleased so many, for so long, while others in this town have packed up and disappeared. Tucson has plenty of "originals" here, I'm surprised the Shish Kebab House isn't one of them.

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Aardcore on 06/24/2014 at 11:43 AM

Re: “The New Mr. K's Barbeque

And you guys are right. I just have a follow up with a soury case of stubbornness and defensiveness especially in the case of when I'd found out about the demise of the Park location Mr. K's and its questionable fate. Like this could have gone a whole other direction if I'd gotten to meet Charles, because the way Ray made it sound, he'd left the place alone completely and left it all to him to manage as I'd NEVER met his father before. So when the announcement to me was made one day when I showed up for my ritualistic serving of BBQ, I was utterly shocked. So much that it seriously felt like a case of betrayal, as from what Ray served, I could seriously tell what he put in there is some serious TLC and that he was willingly sharing that with everyone he served; which made it feel like family, and with that it went the whole way, all the way. I don't know what the future presents itself by with his family and I doubt it's my business to know unless he's willing to share if I ask, and if I ever get the chance to meet the others in his family, but I really do hope everything works out as it should.

I also hope I'm proven wrong and that one day when I go check out the new Mr. K's scene for myself that it's exactly how I know Mr. K's and not some hash up I criminally suspect it to be. I'm serious when I say I want to be proven wrong because it's much easier and fulfilling to accept that, than to have it work the other way around and that it falls off the seams on all ends. Proven wrong, I can deal with, disappointment, a WHOLE other story.

So good graces to that effect to Ray, Charles, even the suddenly announced sister, Rhonda, who I'd only recently heard about when all of this came up and has been lingering in the back of my mind. It just took this article to rear it back up again when I'd read it. With so much ambition being put into this place I seriously hope it's everything and a surprising bit more than I'll expect. But still being stubborn, I'll still hold a special place for the obscure, little lot I originally know Mr. K's best :(

Posted by Aardcore on 06/30/2011 at 4:25 PM

Re: “The New Mr. K's Barbeque

But see that's what I'm trying to get at! I'm not intentionally slandering this new Mr. K's establishment for my own benefit of denouncement. In fact the intention was never there, but there is indeed passion about this. A strong pitted sense of the case but by all accounts for which I can be wrong and I don't mind or care if I am. A good debacle is good so long the truth presents itself, causes some stir in the community and causes a vacuum effect of people paying attention to what's going on and not just what's happening. Mr. K's is having a new place established on the north side and that's great, I don't agree with it, but that goes with a bit of some quandaries of the case in how it will be regarding the former Mr. K's.

As for Ray probably not having the rights by any means of the sauce, the equipment, as well as whatever else TucsonanBeast mentioned, that goes a little farther than that doesn't it? Maybe Ray hadn't considered it because, for his dad, he maintained a tradition of food he wanted to share to the world through Tucson by the Kendricks. So as far as I know, if he didn't really OWN anything, then what did he invest his money in? Why, after all this time, has he been making memorable barbecue for everyone and anyone in Tucson that has come across Mr. K's and claimed it as their own personal joy and comfort in food? Why after all this time and then suddenly all of this had to happen? Was Ray stupid? Is it that so easy to claim him by? Ray mentioned this to me himself on the matter, that because he never corporated on the name sake or set up any kind of copyright for it and rather let Mr. K's sit as as Tucsonan "hole in the wall", it put him in an opening of and opportunity lost, which was opportunistically taken up by his sister, his father, this executive chef and Sargent. Ray probably never saw this coming and when it did, it was too late. Did he luck out? Did he make a mistake NOT claiming the rights of Mr. K's all to himself? By all of this, it sounds like he's being punished for doing a good deed and then having it all taken away because he never OWNED UP TO IT. Rather, he livened up to the responsibility...

So when Ray disagreed, they went a step further and swept the rug up from underneath him when he least expected it, or probably did but couldn't do anything about it! At least that's how it sounds to me and how he explained to me. Is he wrong? I dunno... why doesn't someone of significant journalistic posture go to Ray for the other side of this story? As far as I can see, Ray was doing everything he could to give everyone in Tucson a bit of amazingly done BBQ not done by a chain of restaurant franchises and just a cut above the rest of locally owned BBQ places which rarely exist in Tucson alone. Then this comes along... it could be a possibility of creating a new sensation, possibly overturning the old Mr. K's, and I'm not afraid to reject or deny that fact but the dilemma still exists as to how this will all turn itself out.

And I seriously hope I'm wrong on this. I do. However in the tide of things, one can't help but feel defensive over an establishment that has made myself and so many others happy yet have not voiced their opinions based on this possible change, if there really is. I'm uneasy with the outcome soon to be made and sometimes going with that gut instinct provides alot better than really knowing in order to prevent a disastrous outcome; it's either that or paranoia but I'm more convinced to the former.

If it's anything stolen, then no, I never said anything about anything being stolen except in a metaphorical translation of the case. If you want verbatim then I said "to come and steal the thunder from Mr. K's" as this place is probably building its foundation on, getting it legally tied up and then ran from there. Because I solely believe what Ray has been doing is a kindred part of the community in a service no other place could probably offer equally or better of-- but again I could be wrong and I wouldn't mind being proven such. But I've a feeling I'm not.

I never intended to show any signs of slander, or disrespect, for any I have shown I apologize, but I cannot simply sit idly and watch something I've come to appreciate be overshadowed, overcome and possibly whisked away so easily through a blend of missed, excluded or undiscovered information. There's writing on the wall and someone's gotta read it...

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Aardcore on 06/30/2011 at 3:35 PM

Re: “The New Mr. K's Barbeque

@ Adam
Not so much involved as I am an honored frequent customer and proper enthusiast, if not fanatic, of Mr. K's. I talk to him when I can while I'm waiting for my food and when he told me about his sister starting up the new Mr. K's up near the Tucson Mall area, as stated, Stone and River, I was pretty shocked... even more so when I'd found out in this article that their dad was involved helping her. I mean he helped his son out first too but the fact that it seems like he's ignoring his son completely, maybe to get another kick out of opening another Mr. K's... ... it just hit a wrong chord with me. He started the business, sold it to his son and pretty much walked away from it from what I gathered. Then came the success of his son's management of the place, hence the development of the currently 'new' one now.

The fact that Mr. K's exists but is nearly non-existent to a majority of Tucson as far as amazing BBQ goes, is an understatement. And for this new Mr. K's, which isn't Mr. K's, to come and steal the thunder from Mr. K's (hahahaha, oh man the redundancy is insane) is a little surreal, upsetting and all together strange.

I'll probably be heading out there tomorrow to get my weekend started right; get them hot links, brisket and ribs goin' (MMMM-MM!) and I'll divulge more information from him when I can as I doubt I'll be able to get anything else from his sister if she was even available to speak to. So sadly, my only reliable source is from the actual Mr. K's owner's mouth himself.

As for me being involved personally, I'd say indirectly to be more precise. I just love this place that much and tend to build a strong rapport with what I know and love. Plus the folks there are some good people of an even greater community out here in Tucson. Just seeing this sidewalling attempt jars me in a way I am very uncomfortable with. Nothing hits home harder than food to bring people together and when this just so happened... it felt more like a family betrayal than anything else. I can only imagine what the inner workings of the Mr. K's family are like upon all this. I dread the thought really...

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Aardcore on 06/30/2011 at 1:56 PM

Re: “The New Mr. K's Barbeque

Furthermore, about this particular article as to WHY the son isn't mentioned-- all that's said is the vague hindrance of what can be called a location of the original Mr. K's. If there's ever a biased piece of crap I'd ever read it has to be this when they don't even state where it specifically. It's like they're attempting to have the main stream collection of news about this new Mr. K's opening up overshadow the humble sentiments of the actual Mr. K's. Well it does not deserve this! Ironically, Mr. K's is loved by many who frequent to it but remains unknown to a vast majority of the Tucson populous, this could be in part to the establishment's inconveniently vague location. Personally, I'd passed by the place FOR YEARS not realizing it was an actual BBQ place (when you finally find the place, you'll know what I mean) as this place holds a kind of 'hidden gem' quality to it in a very unique way. The place is by no means upscale, VERY casual and some might even say rundown... but if you're gonna let that deter you from the REAL experience of the place (THE FOOD) then you are completely missing the point. THAT point being that the success of Mr. K's, which has now been somehow overstated has conveniently been abided to the rest of his family looking to leave him out of it it seems. I might not know both sides of the story but reading this article is infuriating to see Kendrick's son, the current owner to the recent Mr. K's, being left out... it's like he's being treated as the odd one out on this. For whatever reason, I've no clue, but it's indecent and shameful.

Mr. K's Barbecue
1830 S Park Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85713

You got the address, you've got my insight, go there, get learned on some seriously good BBQ and rejoice in the experience. Because I'm in my highest belief that this will, and forever be, THE BEST and only BBQ joint to sink your meat loving teeth and obsessions to.

What this new place is looking to do? It looks to be the complete opposite... in a VERY tragic way. It's almost sickening to see all the 'new' development they're looking to make this new Mr. K's, as though to truly set it apart from the original.

Do any other 'chains' or collections of restaurants do this? Let's take a look at other Tucson establishments, albeit most of them are mexican restaurants and eateries as these are the most prominent ones around but does one El Taco Tote differ greatly from another? Is one Nico's Mexican any different by far from the other? Or what about El Guadalajara? Perhaps small nuances BUT NOT COMPLETE ESTABLISHMENTS. Don't let them pull the wool over your eyes on this one. Don't. I believe most of you to be smarter than this and if you love Mr. K's as much as you do; you'd best be known on what's yet to come. As for those of you who don't know Mr. K's? You've got the address, I've put it out... do yourself that favor and KNOW now before it's too late.

Support your locally owned businesses but I strongly enthuse anyone against this one because it is falling under false pretenses on all corners from the box they're trying to think out of.

Never have I been more upset about anything of this caliber in Tucson until now.

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Aardcore on 06/30/2011 at 1:11 PM

Re: “The New Mr. K's Barbeque

THIS is not Mr. K's. Not once is the actual chef and proprietor to the original Mr. K's off south Park Avenue even mentioned! It's all about their dad, the sister and this executive chef who are putting more into an already good thing and conglomorizing on the name. If this place falls on its backside and fails, I won't be surprised. If it SUCCEEDS? I'll be disappointed in seeing THE REAL Mr. K's being subjugated to this fraud of a yet established establishment. For all of you thinking you'll get a taste of Mr. K's close to home, allow me to be the first to warn you that you will be vastly disappointed. If I'm wrong? Then let it be... but after speaking directly to the original Mr. K's proprietor-- this place is a fraud and a sham trying to feed off the success of the actual Mr. K's name and integrity.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Aardcore on 06/30/2011 at 12:48 PM

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