24 NWS COVER JD-p3 Josh Varela (cq JOSH VARELA /top) gets a slice of pizza for his son Dominic Varela (cq DOMINIC VARELA /bottom left) Thursday, September 17th, 2009 (cq THURSDAY. SEPTEMBER 17TH, 2009) at CiCi’s Pizza during their lunch buffet. Photo / Jim Davis/Arizona Daily Star/ digital 146610 / NO SALES-NO MAGS/

Jim Davis / The Arizona Daily Star Josh Varela gets a slice of pizza for his son, Dominic Varela, bottom left, at CiCi’s Pizza during the lunch buffet. The restaurant closed Sunday — this time permanently.
Aussie Cantina sold; new owners to reopen

After just six months, Aussie Cantina, 1118 E. Sixth St., closed last Friday after the owners said they sold the business.

The husband and wife owners, Glenn Murphy and Sally Shamrell-Murphy, announced the news on Facebook:

“We can finally announce, Aussie Cantina has SOLD! We are happy the new owners are very good mates! They LOVE what we did to this space & they will definitely be open by the UA Football season,” the posting stated.

Shamrell-Murphy was a local TV personality on KVOA Channel 4 before first moving to California to pursue an acting career and later to Australia in 2009, with her husband. The couple returned to Tucson last year and Shamrell-Murphy went back on air, this time on KGUN 9’s “The Morning Blend.” On Facebook, she told one commenter that she will still remain on the show.

CiCi’s Pizza closes
after start-stop run

CiCi’s Pizza, a pizza buffet restaurant on the northwest side, closed on Sunday, the second time since the chain’s arrival in Tucson five years ago that it has shut down.

CiCi’s, popular for its $5 all-you-can-eat buffet deal, opened in March 2009, then closed in January 2010. Three months later, it opened again under new management.

Tucson restaurant officials on Monday would not comment on the closing, referring questions to corporate officials who could not be reached.

The Texas-based CiCi’s chain has nearly 500 restaurants in 34 states.

Marana getting new Asian eatery in July

An Asian restaurant will spring out of the small space that for several years was Continental Ranch’s go-to spot for ice cream.

Asian Spice Restaurant takes over Cold Stone Creamery‘s 1,200-square-foot storefront in the Fry’s plaza at 7850 N. Silverbell Road, according to the leasing agent Commercial Retail Advisors LLC.

The owners could not be reached for comment, but the leasing agent said Asian Spice, which will specialize in Chinese and Asian cuisine, is expected to open in July.

’Cuing up baby backs
at American Legion

The McCulloch-Wagner American Legion Post 109 Family Home will be grilling up Big Jim’s famous mesquite-grilled rib dinner on Friday.

The cost is $9 and it includes grilled ribs and sides, and Miss Sharon’s homemade peach cobbler with ice cream.

It’s from 5 to 7 p.m. at the post, 15921 S. Houghton Road. Proceeds benefit Vail Schools “Christmas Angel” program. Details: 762-5652.

restaurants Puttin’
on the Dog Friday

A handful of Tucson Originals restaurants will be showcasing their culinary prowess while helping man’s best friend at the 2014 installment of “Puttin’ on the Dog” on Friday.

It’s the 16th annual event and one of the restaurant group’s most popular events.

It’s from 6 to 9 p.m. at Hilton El Conquistador Tennis & Golf Resort, 10000 N. Oracle Road in Oro Valley. Tickets are $125 in advance at tucsonoriginals.com or $150 at the door.

Tickets include celebrity emcees, live music, hearty hors d’oeuvres and a live auction.

To learn more, call the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, which benefits from the event, at 327-6088.

Love mom and cats? wine tasting is for you

CataVinos Wine Shoppe is letting you celebrate Mom and help out homeless kittens.

CataVinos’ pre-Mother’s Day Wine tasting, from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, benefits PAWSitively Cats No-Kill Shelter.

The cost is $20 and half of the proceeds, as well as donations of Friskies pâté canned food and scoopable litter, will go to PAWSitively Cats. The price includes complimentary appetizers and six tastes. Details: 323-3063.

Free eats for teachers Tuesday At M

McDonald’s is giving teachers a free Extra Value Meal on Tuesday, the official Teacher Appreciation Day.

Which is good news for students: It means that the school year is coming down to the final stretch.

Teacher Appreciation Day falls on the Tuesday of Teacher Appreciation Week, which is the first full week of May. Most Tucson-area schools break for the summer on May 22, which means there are four more weeks of tests, quizzes, book reports, essays, math problems, science experiments and putting up with the annoying kid sitting in front of you before you can start singing “School’s Out for Summer” and have it mean something.

Hang in there.

To snag a free Big Mac and fries — or whatever Extra Value Meal they want — teachers need to show their school IDs at their local McDonald’s between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday. The offer is good for all teachers — from preschool to college — as long as they have an ID.

The first 100 teachers to stop into their local McDonald’s restaurant on Tuesday will also get a McCafé Beverage Keytag, good for a daily small McCafé drink through Aug. 31.

Last year Arizona McDonald’s restaurants gave out 32,000 Teacher Appreciation Day meals, McDonald’s spokespeople said.

Millie’s to start beer, wine service in summer

Millie’s Pancake Haus, the European-inspired breakfast and lunch restaurant on Tucson’s east side, will soon add beer, wine and mixed drinks to its menu.

Owner Dean Griffith submitted a liquor license application this month in the hopes of having alcohol options available by midsummer.

Griffith, who took over Millie’s in October 2011, said the move was in response to an increase in customer requests.

“We had so many customers asking — I seriously started considering it,” Griffith said. “It is a little expensive, but if I can keep them happy and attract some new business in the meantime, I don’t see a problem with that.”

Griffith said the selection will be simple. There will be no shots. No elaborate cocktails.

The restaurant will instead focus on the basics: drinks such as mimosas, Bloody Marys, wine and beer.

Go online to milliespancakehaus.com for more information on the restaurant and its cuisine.

Cathalena E. Burch and Gerald M. Gay

I cover music for the Arizona Daily Star.