When Ricardo (Ricky) Celaya was a student at the University of Arizona, he was on his way to a career in the medical field. But after he graduated, and before signing up for more schooling, his visions of the future changed from stethoscopes to Sonoran hot dogs.
"I love Sonoran food," says Celaya, who was born in Mexico's northwestern state of Sonora. "And owning a restaurant was something I always wanted to do."
He's doing it. And he's doing it in Scottsdale's entertainment district.
Located at 7323 East Shoeman Lane, just steps away from brand-new entertainment venues like Dierks Bentley's Whiskey Row and Hi-Fi Kitchen and Cocktails, Celaya's restaurant, called Ricky's Authentic Mexican Food, will be decidedly less flashy than its neighbors.
"It won't be a club," Celaya tells me, "but more of a late-night [until 3 a.m.] bar and restaurant people can stop by for a drink and some Sonoran food."
Although Celaya won't be cooking the food himself (he's hiring a yet-to-be-named chef for that), he is planning on incorporating some of his family recipes into the Sonoran-minded menu, which will start with basic dishes like tacos, quesadillas, and Sonoran hot dogs.
"We'll make the tortillas here," Celaya says, "along with the salsas and carne asada. And for our barbacoa, we'll be using a recipe I bought from one of my favorite spots in Sonora."
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There will also be wine, Mexican beer, and tequila to go along with the food.
Along with his partner, a longtime friend from high school, Celaya's currently in construction mode for Ricky's, transforming what was once a handful of office spaces into a 3,200-square-foot restaurant that will seat around 120 people and include a patio.
Celaya estimates it will be another three months before he's ready to open.