Fine dining and burgers.
It can be done.
While many of Tucson's more upscale restaurants don't offer hamburgers on their dinner menus, ask at most and ye shall receive.
"You just don't normally put it on a fine dining menu," says Sam Allison, the Arizona Inn's executive chef. But burgers are popular, he acknowledges.
The $14 burger ($16 with extras added on top) at the Inn is always on the bar menu. However, about once a week a request for a burger comes from the main dining room.
"You have to ask for it," says Allison, "but we'll serve it."
It's not on the dinner menu at Acacia, either, but the $11 burger (plus 50 cents each for toppings such as mushrooms, bacon and cheese) can be had in the dining room, said owner-chef Albert Hall.
"It's not commensurate with the rest of the menu," Hall explains about the burger's absence on the dinner menu. "It would look out of place."
While it is always available on the bar menu, if you sit in the dining room and want that burger, speak up. "If someone asks," Hall says, "we would serve it."
Bruce Yim, the chef at the Grill at Hacienda del Sol, owns up to the economic reason burgers are rarely on the dinner menus of upscale restaurants.
"It would lower the PPP," he explains, industry talk for "price per person."
"At dinner, the Grill is designed to be higher end," he adds.
Burgers are always offered at Hacienda del Sol's Terraza Patio & Lounge, where they cost $15. But if a customer in the dining room insists on a burger, he'll likely get it, Yim says.
Janos Wilder has a very practical reason for not putting his burgers on the dinner menu at his Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails.
"If we put it on the dinner menu, I'm afraid that's all we'd sell," he says. "I don't want to be known as a burger house." he says.
It could happen: the $11 burger at the restaurant is mixed with foie gras to make it especially juicy.
The burger is on the bar menu, and yes, if a customer wants it, a customer gets it, no matter where he is sitting.
Blue Fin Seafood Bistro and Kingfisher Bar and Grill tired of bucking the tide: Burgers have made their way to the dinner menu.
"The last two menus we've added the fish and chips and burgers," says Jim Murphy, the restaurants' co-owner and chef. The burgers are $14 at Kingfisher, $13 at Blue Fin.
They were always on the bar menu, but they are popular items, and Murphy says he doesn't want to put a customer in the potentially awkward position of asking for the bar menu while in the dining room.
"It's about accommodating our guests more than anything," he says.
Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4128.