A number of famous people have graced our culinary institutions over the last two years.
Celebrity sighting: Lance Armstrong's late dinner at Gavi's
When you spend 24 hours on a mountain bike, pedaling around a 17-mile circle over and over again in a tag-team effort with other cyclists, there's nothing like a steaming plate of Italian pasta to restore you.
That must have been what cycling great Lance Armstrong and his party of 10 were thinking when they came into Piazza Gavi Italian Restaurant in February — hours after his team finished the grueling 2017 installment of 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo.
When the group arrived, few people in the foothills restaurant at 5415 N. Kolb Road recognized Armstrong sporting a 5 o'clock shadow and wearing a white v-neck T-shirt. The only hint he gave of his bicycling connection was the ball cap he wore that advertised Armstrong's Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop in Austin.
But Gavi assistant manager Francisco Cubedo knew it was the former professional cyclist; he had called in a reservation.
"He was a really nice person," Cubedo said. "Really respectful."
Armstrong, who was banned from professional cycling in 2012 for life for using illegal performance enhancing drugs, took time out to chat with restaurant staff and diners.
"We met Lance Armstrong at dinner last night! How cool is that?" Tucson personal trainer Jenna Llewellyn wrote on Facebook. "... He is such an inspiration & a hero to many!"
Armstrong, who over his professional career often trained in Tucson, placed third in the 24HOP with his former U.S. Postal teammates George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde and Dylan Casey, according to Cyclist.
Armstrong won a record seven straight Tour de France races, but was stripped of his titles with his 2012 banishment.
Kevin Smith visits Batch downtown, pops up in photos around Tucson
Director, actor, comic book man Kevin Smith made the rounds in Tucson ahead of his appearance at the Rialto Theatre last June.
Smith popped up live and in-person at points around town over the course of a week, with photos to prove it.
Among the shots that circulated: A selfie with Frank Brinsley, host of "The World Famous Frank Show," on Brinsley's Twitter feed; a forehead shot on Smith's Twitter feed with the Rialto marquee in the background; and a photo of Smith with Ronnie Spece and Kade Mislinski, owners of Batch, at the downtown doughnut and whiskey shop.
Adam Sandler at the Silver Saddle in early 2015
It was easy to see a celebrity slipping into Phoenix-area steakhouses when football fans were flocking to the Valley for the 2015 Super Bowl.
But we have no idea why comedian/actor/director/screenwriter Adam Sandler stumbled into The Silver Saddle Steakhouse on the south side's East Benson Highway around the same time.
The restaurant, which is kind of tricky to find off Interstate 10 unless you know it's there — you see the sign after you've passed the South Sixth Avenue exit — has photographic proof of its celebrity encounter. They snapped some shots of Sandler with its employees.
LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian at Street Taco and Beer Co.
LeAnn Rimes was in town for a holiday gig at the Fox Theater in December, 2015. While she was here, she chose Street Taco and Beer Co., 58 W. Congress St., as her restaurant of choice.
From the Street Taco Facebook page:
"The beautiful Grammy and CMA award winning country/pop singer LeAnn Rimes and her husband Eddie Cibrian stopped Street taco before her concert and had some tacos. After her concert she sent her staff back to get a to go bag for the road. What a cool, funny and down to earth couple."
Billy Bob Thornton at Sir Veza's in August, 2016
Not sure why Billy Bob Thornton was in Tucson or why he popped into Sir Veza's Taco Garage at the Tucson Mall in August of 2016, but there he was, smoking a cigarette outside and posing for pics with Sir Veza employees.
"'Bad Santa' dropped into Sir Veza's last night to fix his hunger and thirst! Thanks for visiting the taco garage Billy Bob Thornton! #badsanta #whereuat," Sir Veza's owner Ray Flores posted on Facebook.
Flores also wrote that Thornton "took some pics and said he was sorry for missing our Xmas in July gift card sale."
Ken Griffey Jr. at Wings Over Broadway
Baseball great and hall-of-famer Ken Griffey Jr. swung into Wings Over Broadway, 5004 E. Broadway, in August of 2016.
In addition to his meal, Griffey got some fan love from several employees, and, judging by the photo posted on the restaurant's Facebook page, he seemed like a good sport.
Griffey Jr. is the father of University of Arizona football receiver Trey Griffey and UA women's basketball guard Taryn Griffey, so it's not entirely unusual to see the former Seattle Mariner strolling about town.
Steven Seagal at Mariscos Chihuahua
When a Hollywood star slips into your dining room for a quiet dinner there's only one thing for the employees to do: Selfies!
That's what a half-dozen employees of Mariscos Chihuahua at 1009 N. Grande Ave. did when Steven Seagal stepped into their dining room in February of 2016. After serving the star of dozens of action and martial arts films including the "Under Siege" franchise, the employees posed with the star for group shots in the kitchen.
What was for dinner? Employees said Seagal had the Botana de Mariscos, which includes sea snails, shrimp, calamari and octupus. It came with rice and salad.
They believed the actor was in town for gem show activities.
Brendon Urie of Panic! At the Disco at Sunny Daze Cafe
Victoria Haro spotted Brendon Urie the moment he walked in the door of Sunny Daze Cafe in October of 2016.
And the University of Arizona graduate student wasted no time in asking for a quick selfie with the Panic! At the Disco frontman. Sure, he told her, if she could get him a table just as fast.
"I was fan girling a little bit because I’ve liked the band for 11 years," said Haro, who has been in Tucson seven or eight years and has seen Panic! live several times including twice in Phoenix and three times in Tucson.
She missed a fourth time Sunday night when Panic! At the Disco headlined KFMA Fall Ball 2016 at the Pima County Fairgrounds. Urie was a co-headliner with Weezer, following up on the two acts summerlong co-headlining tour that hit Phoenix in August.
Haro said Urie was at Sunny Daze, 4980 S. Campbell Ave., at noon with two other men and ordered biscuits and gravy, one of Sunny Daze's most popular breakfast entrees.
Haro's coworker, longtime Sunny Daze server Vicki Bruley, also got a selfie with Urie. Haro said Bruley has a son who's a big Panic! fan.