Cheba Hut makes a comeback
By Maddie Santos
Incredible munchies, blunts, nugs and cotton-mouth curing beverages are all signature to the eclectic menu at the popular restaurant known as Cheba Hut Toasted Subs. Being a staple in the college community, many students were devastated when Cheba Hut left Flagstaff last spring. Fortunately enough, with new owners, managers and employees, the beloved sub shop is making a come-back for this October.
Owner of the Cheba Huts in Mesa, Tempe and Glendale, Dorian Lenz now owns the Flagstaff location as well.
“I think the Cheba Hut’s th
eme fits real well with Flagstaff, so we thought it was necessary to be back here,” Lenz says. He has wanted to open a new restaurant in Flagstaff ever since the last one closed down and, after receiving numerous emails and phone calls regarding re-opening, Lenz could hardly resist.When the owners of the previous Flagstaff Cheba Hut cut ties with the well-known franchise, they continued to utilize the building with a new sub sandwich eatery called Fatties Toasted Subs. Not long after Fatties opened in April, it closed down.
“I wasn’t connected with the previous one, so I am really not one to say how it would differ,” Lenz says, “but we have a standard at Cheba Hut that we expect, and I think that’s where they slipped last time — with standards.”
Lenz and the new general manager, Travis Lane, are making it their mission to create an atmosphere where people will feel comfortable.
“We want Cheba Hut to be a part of the college experience,” Lane says. “We want this place to be a hang out spot, and it’s got all the potential to be that.”
Lenz explains Cheba Hut tries to hire as many students as they can.
“We are always taking applications,” Lenz says. With plans to eventually put a bar in the store, and getting the delivery trucks running soon, more employees will be needed.
Cheba Hut’s focus is to maintain a friendly atmosphere, and the new team in Flagstaff plans to do just that.
“We don’t want to call someone out and say, ‘Hey number 32, your food is ready.’ We want it to be very personalized, so we call them by first name,” Dorian explains. “We don’t wear uniforms or specific hats with name badges and things like that, but these guys still work really hard.”
The employees will all be ready to rock-and-roll during the grand opening of the Flagstaff shop on Sat. October 13. Marc Torres, the director of operations for Cheba Hut franchising, explains all the exciting plans they have for opening day.
“We like to do things a little bit different at Cheba Hut so we are definitely going to pull some shenanigans,” Torres says.
Part of the parking lot outside of the store will be closed down to make room for the pool full of Kool-Aid.
“We are going to bring in a professional BMX dirt jumper,” Torres says. “They are going to hit a ramp, jump over our Cheba Hut Volkswagen bus and land into the Kool-Aid pool.”
This is scheduled to happen at 4:20 p.m., right after the ranch chugging contest. The first person to chug 32 ounces of Cheba Hut’s extremely thick homemade ranch will win a trophy and free Cheba Hut for a year.
There will also be live bands playing and free stuff given out through the day. In addition to the fun, the event will hold a canned food drive for the Northern Arizona Food Bank, which is a local nonprofit organization that provides food and commodities for the impoverished.
“So, if you bring in a can of food, you’ll get a four inch sub for a dollar,” Torres says.
After five to six weeks of repainting the walls, re-doing the floors, getting a new mural and a brand new sign, Cheba Hut is ready to open in Flagstaff once again.
“This is our re-launch in this location,” Torres says, ”so we want to raise some eyebrows and get people’s attention.”