Ten55 Brewing

A streetcar speeds past the patio area along the sidewalk entrance to Ten55 Brewing, 110 E. Congress.

After four years on East Congress Street, Ten55 Brewing Co. is leaving downtown Tucson and heading to a 12,000-square-foot space in midtown.

A downtown restaurateur, meanwhile, is opening a new venture in the space that will focus on classic American cuisine.

Ten55 at 110 E. Congress St. will close at the end of business Sunday, May 29. Sometime this summer, Patricia Schwabe, who owns Penca at 50 E. Broadway, will open Blue Front, a restaurant with a menu of burgers, classic tuna melts, milkshakes, salads and soups that Schwabe said will be reimagined with an attention to detail and quality.

Rio Nuevo is supporting Schwabe’s restaurant with $300,000 for the remodel as part of its mission to revitalize downtown, according to a Rio Neuvo press release.

Chris Squires, left, and John Paul Vyborny of Ten55 Brewing in 2016. The brewery is leaving downtown Tucson for bigger digs in midtown.

Ten55 managing partner Chris Squires would not say specifically where he and partner John Paul Vyborny are moving their brewery, which they launched nine years ago in an industrial space on the south side. The pair have agreed to lease terms but have not yet signed the lease, he said.

“It’s bittersweet, of course,” Squires said. “I love downtown; we are sad to be leaving.”

The move comes after Ten55 changed its business model during the pandemic when it was forced to close the dining room. The brewery pivoted to production and signed a deal with the regional behemoth Finley Distributors to sell beer in local restaurants and resorts and retail outlets including Safeway, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s and Albertsons.

“If I’m being honest, this little brewery restaurant is not built to feed that capacity,” Squires said. “We need more production space. With a larger production facility, I can make pitches that I haven’t been able to make because I wasn’t sure we would be able to fulfill those commitments.”

The new location, which will include dining and a beer garden, will allow Ten55 to triple its production.

Squires said they will continue brewing at the Congress Street location “right up to the last minute until I have to move those tanks.”

The multimillion-dollar move will include removing doors at both locations to accommodate the brewing tanks and equipment, building out the new space and buying new brewing and kitchen equipment.

Schwabe said she will renovate the front part of 110 E. Congress and hopes to open in 45 days or so. Once Ten55 removes its tanks from the back end of the space, she will expand the restaurant.

Ten55 expects to open its new space in late fall.

Blue Front gets its name from the clothing store of the same name that sold women’s and men’s fashions on East Congress Street in the early 1900s.

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Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com. On Twitter @Starburch