Where to eat after Friday's University of Arizona graduation

UA area eateries open for after-graduation meals, celebrations
2013-05-09T00:00:00Z Where to eat after Friday's University of Arizona graduationCathalena E. Burch Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

On Friday night, about 6,000 University of Arizona students will receive their undergraduate and master's degrees during ceremonies at Arizona Stadium - the first time the ceremonies have been at the stadium since 1972.

It's also the first time graduation has been held on a Friday night in anyone's memory; it's usually held Saturday mornings at McKale Center.

Friday's ceremonies begin at 7:30 p.m. and are expected to let out about 9 p.m., which means that your options for post-graduation dinner can be limited. Here are a few UA-area hangouts where you can get a bite, grab a drink and reflect on your years as a Wildcat.

Pasco Kitchen & Lounge

820 E. University Blvd. in Geronimo Plaza; 882-8013, pascokitchen.com

• Hours: Kitchen serves full menu until 10 p.m. and happy hour menu until midnight.

• What to expect: Upscale fare at moderate prices that runs the gamut from an andouille sausage corn dog served with a spicy paprika slaw and sweet pickle remoulade ($7.50) to Panko- and herb-crusted shrimp served with crisp chips and slaw called the Fellas Shrimp & Chips ($15). The happy hour menu ($5 entrees and $5 glasses of wine) includes chef's tacos in "heritage pork, shredded beef, free-range chicken or organic vegetable."

• Reservations: Recommended.

Social House Kitchen & Pub

446 N. Campbell Ave., at East Sixth Street; 747-5223

• Hours: Kitchen open until 11 p.m.; pub open until 1 a.m.

• What to expect: This is a pub/sports bar for foodies, with flatscreen TVs on the wall, 32 craft beers on tap and a menu that goes from a chef's board of artisan cheeses and meats ($13) to grilled salmon served with a basil risotto ($17). For graduation, the chef is preparing a special wine-paired menu that includes roasted duck, halibut, and a surf and turf as entrees.

• Reservations: Strongly encouraged.

Wilko

943 E. University Blvd. 792-6684, barwilko.com

• Hours: Open until around 11 p.m.

• What to expect: This is the place to go to linger over a robust California or French wine and nibble on a mixed pantry board with artisan cheeses and salumi ($18) or a bowl of inspired rosemary cashews ($4.50). Wilko also serves a mean Double Check Ranch beef burger, served simply ($9.50) or dressed in its finest - Gruyere cheese and sauteéd mushrooms; grilled brie; or BLT with avocado and a tantalizing onion marmalade ($11).

• Reservations: They don't take them.

Gentle Ben's Brewing Co.

865 E University Blvd.; 624-4177 or gentlebens.com

• Hours: Kitchen open until 10, bar is open until 2 a.m.

• What to expect: Grads can take their parents for an icy Gentle Ben's craft beer, including the Tucson Blonde. The menu is kicked-up bar fare, from the popular beer spuds ($7.95) - lightly fried pockets of potatoey goodness spiked with green chiles, onion, cheeses - to Mexican favorites, burgers and sandwiches ranging from $7.95 to $13.95.

"A lot of people will gather here to hang out for the late night," said Gerard Meurer, a Gentle Ben's manager. "The place just fills up with parents and their kids that have just graduated."

• Reservations: All filled up Friday, although walk-ins are welcome.

Dirtbag's

1800 E. Speedway; 326-2600 or dirtbagsbar.com

• Hours: The kitchen is open until 11 p.m., the bar until 2 a.m.

• What to expect: Open since 1982, this is the place some parents will want to come "for a flashback moment" of their own UA years. Linger over the "The Famous Dirtbag" half-pound burger ($7.95) with a side of Dirtfries ($3.95), chased by cocktails with names like "Mind Eraser," "Cocaine Shooter" and "Surfer on Acid." You can also go light with a tuna fish sandwich ($6.95) or a grilled fish sandwich ($9.50).

• Reservations: As if; it's a bar.

BisonWitches Bar & Deli

326 N. Fourth Ave.; 740-1541 or bisonwitches.com

• Hours: Kitchen open until midnight, bar open until 2 a.m.

• What to expect: BisonWitches serves sandwiches with names like "Wildcat" (roast beef and turkey covered in melted smoked gouda); "Jayhawk" (oven-baked chicken breast topped with gooey melted provolone); and the "Miss Pris" (thinly sliced turkey breast layered with Cheddar and a bed of alfalfa sprouts). It is also the place to go for beer: dozens of bottled microbrews from New Belgium Fat Tire and San Francisco's Anchor Steam to locally brewed Nimbus. There are also nearly two dozen imports, from Holland's Amstel Light to Germany's Franziskaner.

• Reservations: Not accepted.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@azstarnet.com or 573-4642.

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