A Cocktail Lounge Is Moving In to the Basement of RoRo's Ten-O-One Building

The barter at Rough Rider.
The barter at Rough Rider.
Devan Sauer
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Rough Rider, the latest restaurant and bar from the owners of The Whining Pig and Pigtails, is coming to Roosevelt Row this summer. The 1800s and Theodore Roosevelt-inspired hangout will be located in the basement of the Ten-O-One building at 1001 North Central Avenue.

The restaurant/bar drew inspiration for its name from Teddy's cavalry during the Spanish-American war before he was president. (It's actually the second Teddy-inspired establishment in the neighborhood. The craft beer-oriented bar The Theodore, which sits directly on Roosevelt Row at 110 East Roosevelt Street, Suite C, was also named for our 26th president. It opened in 2019.) 

Despite being rooted in history, co-owner and beverage director Kyla Hein promises the experience at Rough Rider will be appreciative rather than kitschy.

"The cocktails and the food are both based around the simplicity of those times," Hein says, "with a modern twist."

Stepping off the wood-paneled elevator, guests are greeted at the bar's entrance by a picture of Teddy himself, hung between two leather chairs. The cement walls and exposed pipes of the basement are complemented with hand-crafted wooden pieces and marble table-tops, completing the bootlegger vibe. There's a fireplace, too, and a collection of vintage books (Teddy was a big reader).

Hein used old-timey bartender Jerry Thomas's book, 1862's Bar-Tender's Guide — the first cocktail book published in the United States —  to create the drink menu, which is split into four sections, with the first including "traditional, Philadelphia fish house punches," according to Hein. These cocktails date back to 1732 Quakers who created their own sovereign state to drink and fish. The simple recipe has always called for only a few ingredients, and in the case with Rough Rider's punches, all will include tea bought locally from Loose Leaf Tea Market.

The next section is cobblers, a simple cocktail that was traditionally made by muddling fresh fruit. However, Rough Rider will be using house-made jams for each cobbler cocktail, including cherry anise and a blood orange vanilla jam.

The following section is a collection of other classic cocktails out of Thomas' book, but with slight, modern twists. One cocktail is the Presidential Julep, a champagne cocktail with peach brandy and mint.

The last section of the drink menu includes other modern recipes of classics, like your standard Old Fashioned and vesper. Expect to see some smoked cocktails and other surprises in terms of presentation.

As for the food, Executive Chef Jose Morales took inspiration from recipes and techniques from all over the south in the 1800s to craft the menu — a simple and rustic approach that amounts to "a play on classic Americana food with a southern-soul, comfort flair," as Morales says. Some items you will see include classic shrimp and grits or a cast iron chicken with corn pudding.

Rough Rider will have a raw bar, a staple of the era, and it'll be 15 feet long and able to seat 10 guests. Morales will also feature fresh seafood entrees and seasonal fish specials.

A lounge area with a hand-crafted fireplace and bookshelf at Rough Rider.
A lounge area with a hand-crafted fireplace and bookshelf at Rough Rider.
Devan Sauer

It's fitting that this historical concept lies in the basement of a building with its own history. The Ten-O-One building was originally built in the 1960s as the Coronet Hotel, a so-called Rat Pack hotel, according to Jonathon Vento, founder and principal developer of True North Studio, a real estate developing company that focuses on adaptive reuse and historical preservation of its projects. The building was later turned into office spaces, which were later leased by some Maricopa County agencies. In 2019, the office building was purchased by True North, which has since turned the building into creative work and arts space.

With arts being such a large part of True North, Vento and his partners wanted to include murals representing the area. A large, colorful mural of Teddy's face lies on the south side of the building looking over Roosevelt Row.

Vento considers Ten-O-One to be a "marquee" for Central Avenue and the perfect combination of downtown Phoenix's art and historical districts. Vento went to Whining Pig and Pigtails owner Matt Fulton, who is "such a visionary for our community," Vento says — with the idea for the basement restaurant, and the concept for Rough Rider was spawned.

For more information, see the Rough Rider website.

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