Local restaurateur collaborates with Justin Timberlake

Posted at 3:51 PM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 18:51:44-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — One is a Tucson native known nationally for his successful restaurant concepts. The other is a superstar in entertainment.

Together, Sam Fox and Justin Timberlake are forming a partnership that will combine both of their successes.

"This is kind of crazy how the conversation, and how casual and easy some of these conversations become once you have a little bit of success," said Sam Fox, founder of Fox Restaurant Concepts.

The conversations the Tucson native is talking about are with high-profile celebrities.

And Fox has had more than just a little bit of success. He has been nominated a dozen times for the James Beard Award.

That has opened many doors for him and his Fox Restaurant Concepts. One of those doors opened when he was invited to a barbecue, where he met Justin Timberlake.

Tucson restaurateur Sam Fox with Justin Timberlake

"Justin was there and a lot of his people that work with him, business partners," explained Fox. "Just got to know them over a period of time. After getting to know all them started to talk about collaborating on something."

That something is a brand new restaurant concept in Nashville called the Twelve Thirty Club.

"Obviously a lot of presence there from Justin and his family," Fox said. "So, here we are with the Twelve Thirty Club, four years later."

Justin Timberlake is his partner, but the concept is all Sam Fox. It's based on prohibition era super clubs.

"During prohibition a lot of the restaurants had to close at a certain time and couldn't serve liquor anymore," said Fox. "So, people would go late night to these clubs that would open at 12:30. You had to be a member, but everyone was a member."

The Twelve Thirty Club will include a cocktail lounge called Honorary Member.

It will be three stories of food and drinks with an "elevated Honky Tonk" and a "modern take on a classic supper club."

Fox says there will plenty of live music. That is the Justin Timberlake influence.

The rest, is the restaurant genius of the Sabino High School graduate.

"That's what I enjoy doing is creating new ideas and taking an idea, a word, a meaning, a person and coming up with something and evolving it into, in this instance is the Twelve Thirty Club."

The first phase of Twelve Thirty Club will open April 14 in Nashville, after delays due to the pandemic.

"It's been a little challenging going through all of the construction with COVID and all issues that are out there," explained Fox. "So, it's extra special to finally get going."

While this project is in Nashville, and Fox Restaurant Concepts is now based in Phoenix, he hasn't forgotten about where he came from.

"We're working on some good things down there too," Fox said referring to Tucson. "A little early to talk about it, but we've got some new stuff coming down there as well."

Fox owns Wildflower, Zinburger, Blanco Tacos + Tequila and Culinary Dropout in Tucson.

He says after some struggles during the pandemic, business is again picking up at his restaurants all across the state and across the country.