Local restauranteur ready for new culinary endeavor

It's one of Arizona's most successful businesses, and it owns many restaurants nationwide, and here in the Valley.

True Foods, Zinburger, Flower Child, Blanco, North, Olive and Ivy, and Culinary Dropout are just a couple of concepts created by University of Arizona dropout Sam Fox.

FOX 10's Kari Lake visited the new headquarters for Fox Restaurant Concepts.

Fox said he wanted everything under one roof when he moved his company headquarters across town/

"I wanted to make sure we had a restaurant we could be in every single day, so we could talk to our employees and our guests, so we're never disconnected from anything that we're doing," said Fox. "And then, we wanted an area where we can do menu development and train chefs, and work on food together and that I wouldn't have to get in the car and drive to a restaurant."

The new headquarters is 20,000 square feet big, with a test kitchen, restaurant, coffee shop, hang out space, and offices. Fox used his student loan money to start the business, after he dropped out of University of Arizona.

"I opened my first restaurant in 1992 in Tucson," said Fox. "I thought I was really, really smart. I was 21, I was really good at the restaurant side of things, but I had no idea how to run a business."

Fox learned the trade from those humble beginnings.

"I had three years of trying to figure it out, and i had no money, and i could barely pay my employees," I was bouncing checks, that was really where I learned how to understand every nuance of my business. Otherwise, my doors weren't gonna be open the next day."

Now, Fox's restaurants are all over the country.

"We're in Austin, we're in Houston, Atlanta, KC [Kansas City], Chicago," said Fox, listing off the cities where he has a restaurant. "We're in Fairfax, Virginia, We're in San Diego, Santa Monica, Newport Beach, Walnut Creek,  Palo Alto."

Now, Fox is getting ready to open his newest creation: Doughbird. It is scheduled to open next month, at 44th Street and Indian School Road.

"We've been working on the food for two or three months," said Fox. "So, I feel really good."

Fox described the restaurant concept.

"So, Doughbird is pizza and rotisserie," said Fox. "The flavor of the pizza not Italian-based at all. It's a nod to California Napa, not Italian based at all. And the rotisserie - what we're doing is rotisserie chicken, prime rib. We're doing a rotisserie pork chop, and we're doing a rotisserie cauliflower. So, we have some great vegan and vegetarian dishes as well."

Fox described how the test kitchen helps him perfect new culinary ideas.

"It starts with an idea, and it's perfected in the test kitchen," said Fox. "Once it's prefect, it makes it onto the menu and they cook it here at the restaurant, in the kitchen. Some days, we'll come in and try 25 dishes. Someday, we'll come in and try one dish."

From a college dropout to running a chain of restaurants that serve 20,000 meals per day, Fox said even he can't believe where his love for food and eating has taken him.

"I never thought we'd be in a position where we are today, it's crazy," said Fox. "Even today, I wake up and go, 'wow. I'm coming to work and we have 60 restaurants and 6,000 employees. I'm still amazed."

Sam said his kids, 10 and 12 years of age, are already helping him out, and learning the ropes. Fox, however, said he has already told them that they have to stay in school, and finish college.


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