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Venice Restaurant & Pizzeria closes

Mary and Jack Weger closed their Venice Restaurant & Pizzeria on May 25, ending a 36-year run as one of Tucson's longest-operating Italian restaurants.

Mary Weger this week said the couple made the decision around Mother's Day. She said the economy had gotten the best of their family-style eatery, where fans raved about the authentic New York-style pizza and pastas.

"It wasn't an easy decision," Weger said. "We were open 36 years, and a lot of our customers were older, so we were losing one spouse. And people didn't want to come in without their spouse. It got difficult."

Venice Restaurant, at 7848 E. Wrightstown Road in the Catalina Village, at Pantano Road, had 14 employees at the time it closed, Weger said.

Beer anchors Wed. dinner celebrating local products

Epazote Kitchen & Cocktails may be a relative newcomer on Tucson's fine-dining scene, but it has quickly learned a valuable fact about Tucsonans: We love beer.

Specifically, we love locally brewed craft beer, like Nimbus' Dirty Güera (Blonde) Ale.

It's a perfect pairing for the salad course of Wednesday's locally grown dinner event - the final installment in the restaurant's spring series - which is all about Arizona beer.

Also featured:

• Kilt Lifter Scottish Ale from Tempe's Four Peaks Brewery complements the main course of rancho strip steak with Nimbus beer-battered avocado.

• Sunset Amber Ale from Williams' Grand Canyon Brewing Co. accentuates the chocolate melange and strawberry dessert course.

The dinner starts at 6 p.m., and it's $49. Reservations are required by calling 544-1705 or online at

Also at Epazote, 10000 N. Oracle Road, at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort:

• Dinner for two for $39, includes a shared appetizer and dessert and two entrees. Good through the summer.

• Half-off bar menu and drinks from 4 to 6 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays during social hour.

Acacia hosting Luau; Don Ho would be proud indeed

The folks at Acacia Real Food & Cocktails say their annual Luau and Poi-a-Palooza on Sunday is the most highly anticipated event of early summer.

And what's not to love about sipping tropical libations while feasting on a island-style buffet complete with a roasted pig? There will also be hula dancing to the music of Don Ho.

And speaking of the Hawaiian legend, Acacia is hosting a Don Ho and Wicket Wahine look-alike contest. Good times.

The party gets started at 6 p.m. Sunday at Acacia, 3001 E. Skyline Drive. The cost is $48 and reservations are required; call 232-0101. Details:

Kids eat for $3 at Zinburger

In the realm of really inexpensive kids' meals, Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar scores big points.

All summer, the gourmet burger shop is offering kids meals all day, every day for $3 - more than half off the $7 menu price. And for that three bucks, your kiddo age 12 and younger gets a burger with or without cheese (or choice of turkey sloppy Joe, grilled cheese or chicken strips) with fries and a soft drink.

Heck, at that price, splurge for the $2 shake or float. You'll be a hero.

Adults also get a deal. The plain and simple burger with lettuce, tomato and mayo is $7, a $2 discount.

Zinburger has two locations: 1865 E. River Road and 6390 E. Grant Road.

Cup Cafe at Congress featuring beer events

There's history in the hops when you sip on an icy Samuel Smith's brewski.

The independent brewer has been producing English beers since 1758 and is regarded as Yorkshire, England's oldest brewery.

Samuel Smith's beers are vegan with one exception, and most are brewed with malt, hops, yeast and water.

You can sample the brewer's best at Cup Cafe Saturday as part of Hotel Congress' Summer Beer Tastings & Dinners series.

Events begin at 5 p.m. and the cost is $20 for the tastings, which includes food from the cafe; and $50 for the dinners.

Beer tastings will be held: June 22, Arizona beers; June 29, Hawaii's Maui Brewing Company; July 6, NAFTA beers; July 13, to be announced; July 20, Low Brau; Aug. 3, Vermont Hard Cider Company ciders; Aug. 10, Cerveza Cucapa; and Aug. 17, Beers of Eastern Europe.

Dinners will be held on: June 15, featuring Merchant du Vin selections; July 27, "The Most Interesting Beer Dinner in the World"; and Aug. 24, Arizona beers.

Caffé Milano takes annual vacation beginning MOnday

Each summer, Carlo and Laura Borella head home to their native Milan, Italy, to visit family and friends and learn new recipes for their downtown Italian restaurant, Caffé Milano.

The 2013 summer hiatus begins Monday. The 14-year-old cafe, 46 W. Congress St., will be closed through July 18.

Cathalena E. Burch