Time for a pizza throwdown in Tucson

There have been countless surveys asking people to vote for their favorite Tucson pizza — including Caliente’s Pizza Madness last year — but no one has really pitted the pizza side by side, pepperoni for pepperoni.

Until now.

From 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, pizza chefs from Magpie’s, Vero Amore, Rocco’s and Mama Louisa’s will throw down their mad pie-making skills in the first-ever Tucson Originals Pizza Throwdown. It will unfold at Rocco’s Little Chicago, 2707 E. Broadway, where $20 gets you samples of the contenders’ pizzas, craft beers from Four Peaks, Borderlands and Iron John’s, and desserts from Pastiche, Dante’s Fire and Gourmet Girls Gluten Free Bakery Bistro.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop now open here

Tucson’s first Potbelly Sandwich Shop opened Tuesday at 5545 E. Broadway.

The shop, part of the Chicago-based chain that now includes nearly 300 restaurants, serves toasted sandwiches packed with everything from hummus and feta cheese in the Mediterranean to tuna salad, PB&J, roast beef and a pizza sandwich stuffed with meatballs and pepperoni. They also serve so-called “Skinnys,” sandwiches that are lighter on meat and cheese and clock in under 350 calories.

The restaurant, born in the back of a Chicago antique shop in 1977, bills itself as a neighborhood hangout, with live music and a kitschy ambience that will remind you of the original antique shop.

The Tucson outpost is managed by James Boldin. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant will deliver from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays.

Summer dining deals
  • Maynards Market & Kitchen, 400 N. Toole Ave., kicks off its annual Summer Wine Tour, a 118-day trek that circles the globe with 14 diverse destinations on the itinerary. The tour includes weekly wine tastings and regionally-inspired monthly wine dinners at the downtown restaurant and market. The first tasting will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. It’s $10 for five pours. The monthly dinners are $55 and it includes four courses and wine pairings. Reservations: 545-0577.
  • Hit the road for the 5th annual Flagstaff Wine & Food Festival Saturday at the Pepsi Amphitheater, 2446 Fort Tuthill Loop, Flagstaff. It starts at 1 p.m. Saturday and it’s a chance to sample wines from around the globe and close to home as well as snacks from renowned Northern Arizona restaurants. Proceeds from the $35 admission — $125 for VIP — benefit Friends of Coconino County Parks Inc., which promotes land conservation and recreational activities. Details: PepsiAmp.com or call 1-928-214-6485. 
  • Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., is hosting weekly beer tastings from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturdays beginning this week. The $20 cost includes beer tastings and snacks. Seating is limited; call 622-8848 for tickets and details.
  • It’s Acacia Luau time at Acacia Real Food & Cocktails, 3001 E. Skyline Drive, which transforms itself into an island paradise. There’s tropical music, traditional dancers and chef/owner
  • Albert Hall
  • ’s luau feast of whole roasted pig, chicken adobo, island fried rice and more. It’s from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday and the cost is $48 per person. Details: 232-0101. 
  • The Steakhouse at the Desert Diamond Casino, 7350 S. Nogales Highway, is putting the 2014 graduating class of the Art Institute of Tucson’s culinary program to work as part of their graduation celebration. Members of the class will pitch in to create a multicourse meal Tuesday to benefit the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. “Summer Meals Mission” begins at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Steak House at Desert Diamond Casino, 7350 S. Nogales Hwy. The cost is $50 per person and tickets are available by calling the art institute, 331-0900.

Cathalena E. Burch

I cover music for the Arizona Daily Star.