Renovated Denny’s opens with free eats

When the doors swing open at the newly renovated Denny’s at 4920 W. Ina Road at 9 a.m. today, the first 100 folks in the door eat for free.

The restaurant, which was given a Tucson-inspired makeover from the interior design to the diner menu, is treating those lucky 100 diners to a free Original Grand Slam breakfast. Throughout the day, they will give away prizes including free lunch and dinner.

The Tucson remodel was part of the national diner chain’s Heritage rebranding campaign that will hit 70 percent of its restaurants by 2018, company officials said.

Food truck to open
at Foothills Mall

Tucson’s mobile purveyor of grilled cheese goodness, the food truck Cheesy Rider, will soon have a brick-and-mortar shop at Foothills Mall.

Business partners Sean Scott and Robert Bruce are expanding their cheesy empire into the old Cousins Subs spot in the mall food court.

The space is undergoing renovations and a thorough cleaning. Scott said they hope to be open by Sept. 8.

The location will keep the same Cheesy Rider menu at its core, but will take advantage of the extra room by expanding its offerings.

In addition to its selection of grilled cheese sandwiches, it will feature a Sonoran hot dog, three types of soups and three salads, including a topopo salad. Scott said they hope to partner with a local dessert vendor for some sort of pastry option.

The Cheesy Rider mall edition also will serve breakfast for the morning mall walkers and employees of a call center, located on the mall grounds.

Scott said he and Bruce had been looking for a food court spot for six months. For now, the duo is shifting its focus from food truck expansion to expanding the brand to other food courts.

The move is in part due to the saturation of food trucks within the Tucson metropolitan area.

“After that movie ‘Chef’ came out, it seemed like 37 other trucks opened up,” Scott said. “Trying to invade on new territory is a little difficult right now.”

Despite the challenges, Scott said the Cheesy Rider food truck will stay open.

Follow the truck’s location and the progress of the mall spot at online.

Now open

Two fast-casual pizzerias opened within days of one another last week.Pizza Studio, 1031 N. Park Ave., opened Thursday in the Next student housing complex, 1031 N. Park Ave., across from the University of Arizona. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Cost: $7.99 for an 11-inch pie, unlimited toppings.

  • Pionic Pizza, 2643 N. Campbell Ave., opened Saturday. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Cost: $5 for one topping, $7.45 for unlimited.

Cathalena E. Burch and Gerald M. Gay