Fans of seafood and beach bars will want to set sail for The Landing when it opens in Oro Valley later this month.
The new restaurant is the latest venture from University of Arizona alums Scott Mencke and Douglas “Fini” Finical, who see it as a sister restaurant to their popular Baja-California inspired Fini’s Landing. The Landing will be located at 8195 N. Oracle Road, in the former home of Oro Valley’s Chuy’s Mesquite Broiler.
The two friends-turned-business-partners met while lifeguarding at the Amphi Pool in the ’80s. Sharing a mutual love for all things “water, escapism and Jimmy Buffett,” the pair would part ways to pursue various creative projects after their college years. But when a mutual friend presented a business opportunity regarding available property on the Historic Fourth Avenue downtown, Mencke and Finical began their business partnership with a lasting Tucson legacy.
Known to locals as The Hut, the neo tiki-themed bar was a “perfect storm” of opportunity and happenstance. The venue hosted live music in an acoustic and tropical atmosphere that would allow the two partners an opportunity to develop the unique brand of Fini’s Landing.
Six years later, they were approached by a broker whose client wanted a neighborhood sports bar in the Foothills neighborhood of Swan and Sunrise. “Fini,” an architect by trade, would be able to collaborate with his father one last time for this project. The late Irv Finical was a prominent local architect responsible for the 1976 addition to Arizona Stadium and UA’s Cancer Center.
“For me it was a very special thing to be able to sort of have his legacy live on through this restaurant,” Finical said. Before passing, his father spent time at Fini’s, enjoying watching the circulation and response to the restaurant’s success.
Officially opening its doors in February 2012, Fini’s catered to the beach-bum/ surfer/sailor demographic, indulging in coastal decor with a boat-shaped bar. Mencke said that the idea was to build a place that would fill “this escapism niche, based upon authentic life experiences.”
Drawing inspiration from places such as Southern California, the Florida Keys and the Carribean, the restaurant-bar serves savory and sustainably sourced seafood. Mencke, a long-time advocate for ethical food sourcing, takes pride in the company’s cooperation with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, a program that helps consumers and businesses make informed environmentally conscious seafood choices.
Given Fini’s Landing’s decade-long achievements, the two knew that they wanted to open another restaurant with the goal of having a few of Fini’s favorites, but also a menu unique to The Landing, while offering an homage to authentic Mexican cuisine.
Executive chef Ryan Jones, who will oversee both Fini’s Landing and The Landing, is looking forward to the Coastal-Modern feel of the new menu. Sourcing the Australian barramundi fish from Arizona’s Desert Springs barramundi fishery is one of the unique aspects of the future menu. Similar in flavor to cod or rockfish, the barramundi will offer a fresher taste, only being out of water for approximately 48 hours upon arrival.
“[We’re] focusing on our sustainability, in hopes of opening Tucson’s eyes, only sourcing certain [fish] that can be produced and done correctly,” Jones said.
The barramundi will be the foundation of fish tacos, with a blackened seasoning, house rojo salsa, smoked cilantro-lime crema, corn and avocado, and maybe even as a main entree dish to “shine on its own.”
The Landing will open with limited seating and other COVID precautions in the third week of June.