25-Year-Old Restaurateur to Open Enchiladas and Soup Spot in Central Phoenix

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For those of you who have passed the shuttered Miriam's Designer Clothes building on North Seventh Street and wondered, "Why can't that just be a restaurant already?" (yours truly included) here's some news: It's going to be a restaurant already.

More specifically, one called Gadzooks specializing in enchiladas and soup.

The idea comes courtesy of Aaron Pool, a 25-year-old native of Phoenix and ASU grad who, thanks to fond memories of cooking with his mom, knew he wanted to start a restaurant company by his freshman year of college.

So why enchiladas and soup?

Pool says he's been in love with Mexican food since he was a kid -- especially enchiladas. And thanks to his mom, who made enchiladas his friends would rave about, he knows what a good one should taste like.

"The goal for us is to redefine the enchilada," Pool says. "I go to way too many restaurants in Phoenix where the enchiladas are pretty bad. This varies from using frozen meats, prepackaged tortillas, flavorless sauces, or cheese that looks like candy corn. Our product will be quite different from what we are all use to when it comes to enchiladas."

On the soup offering Pool says, "People ask who eats soup in Phoenix? I've never seen someone put a spoonful of soup to their mouth either in Phoenix. It does make Gadzooks Enchiladas and Soup sound cool though. Better than Gadzooks Enchiladas and Wontons."

In addition to the enchiladas and soup, Gadzooks will also served tacos and salads.

And when it comes to the building itself, which has been completely gutted, Pool isn't messing around. He's hired Navin Pathangay of Pathangay Architects -- the architect and company responsible for the beauty-salon-turned-pizzeria look of The Parlor in East Phoenix.

Pool says he hopes to open for lunch and dinner in late December or early January.

Sadly, with still a few months to go before opening his doors, the 25-year-old Pool is already being told he won't be able to pull off his restaurant.

"I would say my expectations from outsiders isn't very high," he says. "I had an 'industry veteran' tell me I have less than a one-percent chance of success, soooo that's good."

Gadzooks Enchiladas & Soup 3313 North 7th Street (7th Street and Osborn Road) www.gadzooksaz.com

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