Today the much-anticipated Saint House Rum Bar opens downtown, one of several new ethnic restaurants that Tucson welcomed over the summer.

The Rum Bar, the third venture of business partners Travis Reese and Nicole Flowers, joins a pair of Italian restaurants and the resurgence of a Greek restaurant that all have opened in recent weeks.

Summer apparently is perfect timing to launch a new restaurant or revive an old one.

Lindsey Fisher, who opened Dominick's Real Italian on the northwest side on Aug. 2, said she planned for a summertime opening "so we weren't so overwhelmed and so we would be ready for the winter."

"We have pretty much gotten the kinks worked out," she said.

Jimmy Pastore and business partner Jeffrey Bridge bought Catalina's popular It's Greek to Me restaurant on July 1 - long before the winter visitors who will be a significant customer base return in October. Pastore said it has given them a chance to find their rhythm before business picked up.

The pair rechristened the three-year-old restaurant as J&J It's Greek to Me.

Dominick's Real Italian

8330 N. Thornydale Road, at Cortaro Farms Road; 744-2002.

• Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

• Menu: Owner Lindsey Fisher and her business partners reached out to her extended family in New York, Arizona and Italy to help craft the menu, which hits the highlights of Italian cuisine: calzones and pizzas; a trio of pastas including a house lasagna; and Italian classics like chicken marsala and eggplant parmigiana.

• Prices: Entrees start at $9.99 and top out at $14.99; specialty pizzas are $14.59 for a 12-inch, $21.59 for 16-inch. Build-your-own pies start at $7.59 and $12.99.

• Worth a visit: You can score a monster slice of pizza and soda for $5 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Just how big is it? They cut a 26-inch pie into six slices.

J&J It's Greek To Me

15920 N. Oracle Road, Catalina; 825-4199.

• Hours: 11 a.m. to close Mondays through Saturdays; closed Sundays.

• Menu: Chef-owner Jimmy Pastore and his sous chef, David D'Auteuil, inherited a classically Greek menu - spanakopita, dolmades, keftedes, Greek salads, braised lamb shank and several versions of souvlaki and gyros - and added more seafood.

• Prices: Appetizers start at $6 and run as high as $19 for a combo platter that includes tzatziki, hummus, feta cheese, olives, pita bread and other Greek nibbles. Entrees start at $14 and include the house special grilled octopus ($18), a gyro plate ($14), chicken or pork souvlaki ($15 and $17) and called pikilia; seafood dishes run $15 to $22, while traditional Greek a shrimp kastella ($18). 

• Worth a visit: Every Thursday, Pastore shoots out an email - he calls it a "fishgram" - to regulars alerting them to which fish he plans to serve on Friday. Recently he featured New Zealand swordfish and Hawaiian opah.

La Mia Toscana

7332 N. Oracle Road at West Ina Road; 742-4242.

• Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays; 3 to 8 p.m. Sundays for chef's choice buffet.

• Menu: Chef-owner Giancarlo Sefanutto brings the best of his native Tuscany to his Tucson table with handcrafted house-made pastas and ingredients imported from Italy. Specialties include a lobster fettuccine with a decadent cognac sauce, grouper- and cheese-stuffed ravioli dressed in a shrimp and vodka sauce, and pizzas that go from the simple viareggio - tomato sauce with buffalo mozzarella and sliced tomatoes - to a pair of white pizzas.

• Prices: Pizzas start at $10 while entrees start at $12 and go as high as $89, which is the Catalana seafood feast for two to three people. Lunch prices start at $7.90.

• Worth a visit: For the price of a fast-food lunch - $7.90 to $10.90 - you can score an appetizer and an entree that includes lasagna or eggplant parmesan, scaloppini, fish filet or a pasta carbonara. Appetizers include salads, soup or bruschetta.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at

Published: Aug. 15, 2013