Stagecoach is a growing barbecue concept out of Arizona. You may be thinking, why do barbecue in the desert? Well, the group behind Stagecoach — Wild Thyme Restaurant Group — was just rounding out its portfolio by creating a barbecue concept. Wild Thyme has restaurants that span the range of American, upscale Mexican, coastal, and more. To the owners, barbecue just felt like the next logical step.
Wild Thyme Restaurant Group owns and operates six different concepts: Shorebird, Molé Comida, Kai, Kaiseki Sushi, Jay Bird’s Chicken and Stagecoach.
It was all inspired by Chef Bert Bonnarens the chef leading the way at Stagecoach with dishes based on his life.
“He’s pretty much our puppet master and a barbecue expert,” said Heinrich Stasiuk, chairman of Wild Thyme Restaurant Group.
Though Stasiuk isn’t from the South, he is familiar with Southern food enough that he could help craft a menu alongside Chef Jay.
“I’ve eaten a lot of Southern foods, so I know Southern food,” he said.
Stagecoach differs from other restaurants in the group’s portfolio because it’s more casual.
The restaurant also prides itself on being “welcoming to everybody:
“We believe that every meal is more than just a meal,” Stasiuk said. “You don't just come and eat. It's an experience that brings people together.”
At the end of the day, Stasiuk said that this restaurant was meant to be more fun than the others. It was the missing piece to the group’s puzzle, Stasiuk said, and that made it more fun to create than the other brands in the portfolio.
The chain, which currently has three units in Sedona, Ariz., and Southern California, is known for its quality smoked meats that fall off the bone. Stasiuk’s favorite is the ribs — which he once ate six days in a row. That’s something he felt was missing in the Southwest.
Stagecoach’s meat is made fresh every day, which Stasiuk said is not an easy feat but is worth it in the end for the quality meats they expect to come out of the kitchen.
While the brand has a fast-causal concept in Jay Bird’s Chicken, which has five locations across the Western United States including California and Utah, don’t look for any more limited-service chains to come out of Wild Thyme Restaurant Group.
“We believe in, at least right now, a full dining sit down, providing a good experience that will be known for it as we do best,” he said. “So that's the direction we’re going with right now.”