Tucson’s newest Iron Chef is taking the plunge and opening her own restaurant.
Technically, it’s the second iteration of the restaurant if you count the eight years Wendy Gauthier has been running Chef Chic out of the commercial kitchen/cafeteria of the Arizona Daily Star’s south side plant.
“I think it’s time,” Gauthier said Tuesday from the dining room of the Star’s Carla Gamez Cafeteria where Gauthier and her staff serve a menu of handcrafted sandwiches, soups and breakfast specialities to Star employees. “I think we’ve gotten enough of a following that it’s time to broaden out and do more and show people what we can do.”
Gauthier set up shop in the Star after years of catering and private in-home dining services. The Culinary Institute of America-trained chef, who grew up outside Washington, D.C., came to Tucson not long after earning her cooking degree and has clocked time in the kitchens of Canyon Ranch and the Flying V at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort before starting her catering business.
Gauthier won the Tucson Iron Chef championship last July — a first for a female chef in Tucson — which gave her a confidence-boosting nudge to strike out on her own. She’s taking over the 1,900-square-foot space formerly occupied by Holy Smokin’ Butts barbecue restaurant that moved to 6940 E. Broadway.
The menu at Chef Chic will feature breakfast sandwiches and bowls, sandwiches, salads, soups and grab-and-go meals. With Gauthier’s catering background, expect her to switch up the menu.
“From doing catering for 18 years we do something different every day,” she explained. “We’re going to have a set menu, but there will be a little bit of a twist.”
Example: a roast beef sandwich given a bit of a pho treatment with sprouts and an herb hoisin vinaigrette. And alongside the classic egg, potato and cheese breakfast burrito she’ll serve housemade quiche. In the grab-and-go case, you can get dinner to go, including a spinach and cheese-stuffed meatloaf.
Breakfast will run $6 to $15 while lunch will average $7 to $12.
Gauthier said she hopes to have a soft opening Nov. 22, contingent on getting the necessary permits. The restaurant, at 1104 S. Wilmot Road, will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays; closed on Sundays.
70 restaurants and coffee shops that opened in Tucson in 2019
Here's a look at restaurants that opened in the Tucson area in 2019
Reporting by Andi Berlin, Cathalena E. Burch and Gerald Gay.
ATL Wings — 802 N. Fourth Ave.
Ralph and Velveia Bankhead like to think a little heavenly intervention led them to the 1950s-era gas station-turned restaurant on the corner of North Fourth Avenue and East University.
It all started with a business networking meeting at their Phoenix church three years ago. Velveia Bankhead was the keynote speaker, and one of the guests, fellow church member Cianna Kirksey, pitched her and her husband Mike’s ATL Wings restaurant chain.
Not long afterward, the Bankheads visited the restaurant in west Phoenix — there are eight locations in the Valley — and discovered something Ralph Bankhead called life-changing.
“These wings do something to you,” he said, sounding like a preacher about to hit that fever pitch of his sermon. “When people eat our wings, they love our wings.”
With so many locations in the Phoenix area, the Bankheads, who own the restaurant with Angela and Alphonso Tyson, turned their attention to Tucson and that 2,000-square-foot former filling station at 802 N. Fourth Ave. that had been converted into a restaurant in 2017.
Alexandria's Pearl — 1535 N. Stone Ave.
Alexandria's Pearl serves up Egyptian food, with a full menu and a buffet.
The menu includes traditional fatta, kabsa and koshari.
August Rhodes Market — 3073 N. Campbell Ave.
Prep & Pastry may have moved down the street, but the owners quickly turned the original space into a trendy lunch spot.
Named after chef Kyle Nottingham's son, August Rhodes Market specializes in gourmet salads and sandwiches on housemade baguettes.
Read more about Prep & Pastry's move here.
Bacio Italiano — 943 E. University Blvd.
Italian restaurant Bacio Italiano took over the 2,800-square-foot space that for two years housed Red’s Smokehouse & Tap Room, which closed last year.
Among the items on the menu, Bacio Italiano serves Neapolitan style pizzas with a New York flair. The dining room is airy and minimalist, fashioned around a massive domed pizza oven imported from Italy.
Baja Mar — 3541 S. 12th Ave.
In 2019, Baja Mar expanded with an additional location on South 12th Avenue.
The seafood restaurant also serves as a market. Plus, kids eat free on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Barro's Pizza — 410 N. Wilmot Rd.
Barro's Pizza opened its second Tucson-area location in January.
The first location opened in 2017 in Marana, at 5884 W. Arizona Pavilions Dr. It was the Phoenix chain's first location south of Casa Grande.
The chain now has more than 40 locations, most in the greater Phoenix area.
The menu includes classic dishes such as pizza, pasta, salads and subs.
Black Standard Coffee
Black Standard Coffee is a new coffee subscription business owned by Tucson couple Jason and Rachel Kish.
Black Standard Coffee is a direct-trade business that purchases their beans through "farm gate," which means that the buyer negotiates directly with the coffee farmer.
They sell their freshly-roasted beans wholesale, through subscription or by the bag on their website blackstandardcoffee.com.
The coffee is also served at Dogs-n-Donuts, an east-side bakery that specializes in sweet treats for dogs.
The Blind Pig — 943 E. University Blvd.
The Blind Pig focuses on dry-rubbed and Cajun barbecue and seafood.
The restaurant sits in the spot that was home for nearly seven years to The Fix, which served mac and cheese. That restaurant closed in early May.
Bowld — 13160 E. Colossal Cave Rd.
Bowld was recently welcomed to the Vail area.
The restaurant boasts meal prepping and catering services, in addition to a menu of bowls and "rowls," which are veggies, meat or cheese wrapped in a different kind of meat or tortilla. They're available grilled or breaded and fried.
The menu also includes salads and burgers.
The Boxyard — 238 N. Fourth Ave.
After more than two years of waiting, The Boxyard, a shipping container food hall on Fourth Avenue, officially opened in January.
The bar portion has 15 beers on tap. For food, you can nosh on Sonoran dogs, Vietnamese food and barbecue.
Brooklyn Rolls — 1628 E. Sixth St.
A New York City native brought his favorite Brooklyn flavors to a spot just south of the University of Arizona stadium.
Ryan was born in Canarsie, Brooklyn, grew up in Midwood, not far from where Ebbets Field once stood, and is a New York University alum.
A bout of homesickness led to the creation of Brooklyn Rolls.
“I missed Brooklyn,” Ryan said. “I missed the food, the people.”
Buffalo Wings — 485 N. Grande Ave.
Buffalo Wings' menu is fairly simple, with wings, appetizers such as potato skins and jalapeno poppers, and sides including buffalo fries and potato salad.
Plus, our food reporter Andi Berlin said it's the only place she knows of in Tucson that sells both buffalo wings and boba slushes.
BZ's Pizza — 7856 E. Wrightstown Rd.
But now it's back on the southwest corner of Pantano and Wrightstown. The new spot has 30 draft beers and a menu that includes pasta and seafood entrees like cioppino and lobster ravioli along with the signature thin crust pizzas.
Carnitas Estilo Michoacán Los Gordos — 4545 E. 22nd St.
It’s hard to miss Carnitas Estilo Michoacán Los Gordos as you travel down East 22nd Street in midtown Tucson.
The mobile eatery is housed in a former school bus, painted bright pink. It sets up in the middle of a large dirt lot amid several car dealerships, between South Swan Road and South Columbus Boulevard.
Its interior has been custom altered to resemble a diner rather than your kids’ ride to middle school.
Long metal tables stretch along either wall, giving each customer a view of neighboring businesses and the traffic on 22nd.
The rear of the bus serves as the counter and kitchen, where 20-year-old Jackie Aguilar takes orders and her brother, Alex Quezada, 36, creates carnitas dishes using family recipes, born in Michoacán, Mexico, and passed down through generations.
Read more here.
Ceres Pasta + Bread — 77 W. Washington St.
Located in the old Fanny's space across from La Cocina, Ceres Pasta + Bread is a cafe that serves handmade pasta.
Working with a small team of mostly women, Carolyn O'Connor arrives at 5:30 every morning to make at least 20 pounds of fresh pasta. She prepares a small but rotating selection of pasta styles, available for take-home cooking or freshly-prepared during the daily lunch service. The two main varieties are thin tagliolini and wide tagliatelle, both egg noodles popular in Northern Italy. You choose a noodle, and then choose whether you want tomato basil, pesto, cacio e pepe or meaty Bolognese sauce.
Charred Pie — 12125 N. Oracle Rd.
Charred Pie serves up wood-fired pizza, in addition to salads, pasta and sandwiches.
Charro del Rey — 178 E. Broadway
The seafood-centric restaurant Charro del Rey was opened by the Flores family — the same family behind the popular El Charro Cafe.
Charro del Rey sits at 178 E. Broadway, next door to the Flores family's 2-year-old Charro Steak, 188 E. Broadway.
Charrovida — 7109 N. Oracle Rd.
The Mediterranean-inspired Charrovida, the newest restaurant from the El Charro family, opened in May.
It is the third new concept that the Flores family has launched in three years.
Charrovida, 7109 N. Oracle Road, is a Mediterranean-Sonoran fusion restaurant that borrows from plant-based and sustainable-foods philosophies, a passion for Flores family matriarch Carlotta Flores. The emphasis is on healthy, but with an El Charro focus on flavor and innovation.
Chef Chic — 1104 S. Wilmot Rd.
Tucson’s newest Iron Chef took the plunge and opened her own restaurant.
Technically, it’s the second iteration of the restaurant if you count the eight years Wendy Gauthier had been running Chef Chic out of the commercial kitchen/cafeteria of the Arizona Daily Star’s south side plant.
“I think it’s time,” Gauthier said in November from the dining room of the Star’s Carla Gamez Cafeteria where Gauthier and her staff serve a menu of handcrafted sandwiches, soups and breakfast specialities to Star employees. “I think we’ve gotten enough of a following that it’s time to broaden out and do more and show people what we can do.”
Read more here.
Chef Wang — 356 E. Grant Rd.
The menu at Chef Wang is so large, it takes a four-ring binder to list everything they serve — including many dishes you may not have seen before.
Chef Wang, or Zhuang Yuan Lou if you speak Mandarin, is essentially a Northeastern Chinese restaurant. The spot is a partnership between Baoge Chen and Chef Hongquan Wang, who are from the city of Shenyang in the Dongbei region of China.
The restaurant is inside an old Mariscos Chihuahua on Grant Road, and has a suburban vibe that led This Is Tucson's food writer Andi Berlin's lunch partner to call it "The Cheesecake Factory of Chinese food."
Churrasco de Brasil — 150 W. Wetmore Rd.
Opened in the 8,700-square-foot building that used to house Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar at the Tucson Mall, Churrasco de Brasil is similar to the successful Fogo concept.
Diners pay a fixed price which includes trips to the 30-item salad bar and as much meat as you can handle. Diners will flip over a red card to display a green color when they are ready to begin, signaling the meat servers to come to their table.
Servers offer up 12 to 15 different types of lamb, pork, chicken and beef. This includes the iconic picanha or sirloin cap, which comes out in half-ovals topped with a thick layer of fat.
Crema Coffee — 3725 W. Ina Rd.
Crema Coffee opened in Marana in the beginning of April. In addition to coffee, the shop offers pastries in partnership with Sweetster's Bakery, according to their Facebook page.
Desert Dream Ice Creamery — 210 N. Fourth Ave.
Although Isabella's Ice Cream moved out of their Fourth Avenue location in 2018, ice cream hasn't left the street.
Brothers Zech and Noah Bergeron took over Desert Dream Ice Creamery, after closing its former location on Speedway and Campbell Avenue.
Now in Isabella's former location on Fourth, the Bergerons make their own ice cream flavors like Coyote Tracks and Elvis Pretzel with help from the original owner.
Divine Bovine — 1021 N. Wilmot Rd.
The former La Salsa building on North Wilmot Road and East Speedway is now home to a local purveyor of high-quality hamburgers.
Rine was looking for a new opportunity in the food service industry since selling BrushFire's two locations more than a year ago.
“I took a year off because you only get one life and I wanted to spend time with my kids,” Rine said. “But we’ve all got bills to pay. I didn’t sell 25 BrushFires, and I’ve wanted a burger restaurant for a while.”
Rine said Divine Bovine offers 15 different types of burgers, all made with “ridiculously high-end ingredients.”
Each burger patty consists of a blend of “brisket, chuck and short rib that’s really, really naughty,” he said.
Read more here.
Dutch Bros. Coffee — 10105 E. Old Vail Rd., 9330 E. Golf Links Rd., 1971 W. Valencia Rd.
Dutch Bros. Coffee, the Oregon-born, hip and happening coffee shop with the sugar-sweet nice baristas, expanded its reach in Tucson.
Dutch Bros. introduced itself to Tucson with its first location last October at 120 S. Wilmot Road.
El Antojo Poblano — 1114 W. St. Mary's Rd.
El Antojo Poblano refers to the city and state of Pueblo, southeast of Mexico city.
You can find huaraches, cemitas and delicate molote pockets of fried corn masa at El Antojo Poblano — Tucson's new food truck that parks in a vacant lot at St. Mary's near Interstate 10.
El Chinito Gordo — 2920 N. Oracle Rd.
According to the restaurant's website, El Chinito Gordo's menu is inspired by Central Mexican recipes passed down through generations.
The menu includes enchiladas, tacos, a chorizo burger, chile rellenos and more.
El Torero — 231 E. 26th St.
Fonda la Hermanita — 198 W. Cushing St.
The quaint cafe is tucked back behind The Coronet, which moved into the historic Cushing Street building near the Tucson Convention Center.
Chef Erika Bostick has created a small but colorful menu that showcases the fresh produce of Southern Arizona. Since the tiny kitchen doesn't have a flattop, she craftily prepares scrambled eggs using a sous vide machine and serves an array of "platos" like fresh corn masa gorditas with baby greens and black bean spread.
Fried Rice Hut — 1655 S. Alvernon Way
Fried Rice Hut is an unassuming dinner spot near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
Yuko Takatori's menu is almost entirely made up of fried rice and deep-fried meats, but that doesn't mean the food is greasy. They also have tasty apple and cinnamon hand-pies that look like sugary egg rolls from the outside.
Heemee Coffee and Bakery — 20 E. Congress St.
Tucked into a little nook on Congress Street, Heemee Coffee and Bakery has a minimalist aesthetic with white clean walls and a pastry case full of whimsical treats. But back in the kitchen, there's a veritable assembly line of people busting butt.
This new downtown cafe makes its own baguettes, cupcakes, sweet buns and Japanese cream puffs from scratch. The pastries are a mix of American and French cafe staples with unique creations from Korea and Japan.
Hop Street Lounge — 7215 E. 22nd St.
Tucson's east side just got another destination for locally produced craft beer and wine.
The new venture offers up to 35 beers on tap, eight wines, coffee, kombucha and more than 600 bottles in coolers.
Eight television sets show the sporting events of the day, and seating in the space includes couches.
“I want people to be super comfortable,” owner Damion Jenkins said. “It is going to have a loungy feel.”
Read more here.
Irene's Holy Donuts — 340 N. 4th Ave.
Irene Heiman was selling real estate in her childhood home of Hawaii and she was doing pretty well, making money while making a name for herself.
But she would go to sleep every night with this gnawing feeling that she wasn’t doing what she was meant to do in this world. Around 2014, the mother of three said she heard a voice that told her to open a doughnut shop.
She spent a year of trial and error, experimenting with glazes, yeasts, fillings and doughs, and was told by some folks honest enough to deliver bad news that her doughnuts were pretty awful.
She admits she was discouraged, but her husband wasn’t. He told her that once she had the proper equipment and space, those doughnuts would be just fine. And when they opened Holy Donuts in the mall of their small hometown of Kailua-Kona in 2015, he was proven right. People loved them.
Irene Heiman was confident people in Tucson would feel the same way.
Read more here.
Istanbul — 2945 E. Speedway
A Turkish restaurant is taking up residence in the old May’s Counter Chicken & Waffles space on East Speedway nearly 10 months after the popular UA-area restaurant closed.
Istanbul serves a menu of kebabs, wraps, sandwiches and other Turkish and Mediterranean-inspired dishes, said chef-owner Kamran Esar.
Esar’s resume includes cooking at the original Opa Greek restaurant on Campbell Avenue that closed in spring 2018 and Opa Time at South Fourth Avenue’s American Eat Co. He said his siblings, parents and friends will be involved in his restaurant — a first for the family.
Read more here.
Ja Ramen — 2643 N Campbell Ave.
Ja Ramen opened in the former home of the restaurant Hoki Poki, which closed in July.
Chef-owner Ja Le said his focus is on curry dishes and ramen, the noodle soup that has gained in popularity over the past few years.
One of his specialties is ramen served with slow-cooked, chashu-braised pork belly or pork shoulder.
“I like to cook ramen,” said Le, a Vietnam native who has been in Arizona about a decade.
Read more here.
Jewel's Noodle Kitchen — 5683 E. Speedway
Jewel's Noodle Kitchen is owned by Ronghua Zhu who hails from Beijing and has filled her small menu with Northern Chinese specialties like dumplings and housemade wheat noodles.
John Henry's — 117 N. Sixth Ave.
John Henry’s fills the space most recently occupied by the comic-book-inspired gallery Constant Con, just north of the East Pennington Street intersection.
Co-owner Brenndon Scott’s original vision was to launch a dive bar downtown in the same vein as The District Tavern, which held court on East Congress Street for a decade before being pushed out by rising rent costs in 2015.
Just Kabab — 10420 N. La Cañada Drive
The new Oro Valley restaurant brought the art of the Persian kebab to a casual setting, with counter service and an open kitchen where you can see your meat being grilled.
Start with a classic skewer of ground beef kubideh and go from there. They also plan to serve traditional stews such as ghetme and ghorme sabzi.
Just Noodles — 2545 E. Speedway
Located inside Alibaba Restaurant, Just Noodles serves up a menu filled with noodles.
The menu includes wonton noodle, tomato egg, chili spice, chicken with sesame, and more.
Kukai — 267 S. Avenida del Convento
Kukai opened quietly in February at the Mercado Annex, making it the second food vendor in the shopping area.
And you may recognize the familiar face of Setsuko Mochizuki inside the shipping container kitchen. Her husband Kazuo Senda is the owner of Samurai on Oracle Road, which has been Tucson's go-to rice bowl joint for more than 30 years.
Kazuo is partnering with his son-in-law Michael McCormack at Kukai, crafting a menu that feels like Samurai meets Instagram. They're making everything from onigiri rice balls and ramen to those takoyaki octopus balls you may have lined up for at Tucson Meet Yourself.
Le Buzz Caffe — 2930 N. Swan Rd.
Le Buzz Caffe opened its second location in December.
The new location sits in the Palomino shopping center, near Fort Lowell Road. The first location is at 9121 E. Tanque Verde Rd., near Catalina Highway.
The menu is the same as the original location for now, so look out for those European pastries and fluffy omelettes.
Lemonshark Poke — 2501 E. Grant Rd.
Lemonshark Poke is owned by guitarist Tobi Miller of the The Wallflowers.
Who is this man? He's formerly a semi-famous rockstar and currently a businessman in California who's opened a franchise of poke restaurants.
At Lemonshark Poke, diners can make their own poke bowl, or get one of the house combinations like the Maui Heat Wave pictured here with spicy salmon and spicy tuna.
The Libertine — 402 E. 9th St.
The Libertine opened in June in the spot that once housed The Coronet.
Ran by the The Coronet's owner, The Libertine is a casual bar with a kitchen serving small plates.
The Coronet moved out of the Ninth Street space and reopened in the location that was once home to Cushing Street Bar and Restaurant.
Longhorn Grill & Saloon — 28851 S. Nogales Hwy in Amado
A long-closed restaurant whose steer skull façade has served as a roadside attraction for generations of travelers heading to and from Mexico recently reopened.
The Longhorn Grill and Saloon opened in late May in Amado.
The property's new owners Greg and Amy Hansen, no relation to Star sports columnist Greg Hansen, purchased the Longhorn in 2018 in hopes of turning it into a destination steak house, catering to tourists, Tucsonans and residents from the surrounding communities of Green Valley, Tubac, Rio Rico, Nogales and Arivaca.
The Longhorn serves everything from high-end steaks and fish plates to burgers, sandwiches and salads.
Read more here.
Mama Carey's Kitchen — 501 N. Park Ave.
Tisha Atkins Carey had a hard time feeding her son Ka’Deem when he was growing up.
The football coaches at Canyon del Oro High School and later the University of Arizona would reach out to her when her 5-foot-10 running back son would nibble his way through team meals.
“He was a real picky eater,” she recalled. “I would get calls from the high school and UA asking me for advice.”
Her best advice: Mama’s cooking — homemade broccoli and cheese with rice; hot links and hot wings; mac and cheese; fried chicken; and Philly cheesesteaks like the ones she ate as a child growing up in Trenton, New Jersey.
“That’s the food I grew up with, the food that made me who I am today,” said Ka’Deem Carey, opened a restaurant, Mama Carey’s Kitchen, with his mom.
Read more here.
Maru Japanese Noodle Shop — 1370 N. Silverbell Rd.
More Japanese food has graced Tucson's west side.
Maru Japanese Noodle Shop is a casual counter-service spot from the people behind Yoshimatsu, just with an emphasis on ramen and udon noodles.
In addition to the familiar beef and curry udons, the restaurant also does a spicy tantan udon, sweet tofu kitsune udon and a cream udon with a sauce similar to fettuccine alfredo.
Small snacks, such as takoyaki balls and onigiri, are also offered.
Mendez Bakery — 1219 S. Sixth Ave
Nearly two years after Le Cave’s closed amid a flurry of failed health department inspections, Fernando Mendez opened Mendez Bakery and Tortillas at 1219 S. Sixth Ave.
Mendez said that from the time they set out the “now open” sign on June 12, they had customers from the neighborhood trickling in, many of them curious to see how Mendez has cleaned up the place and to catch a glimpse of the display cases filled with empanadas, tortillas and fresh baked rolls.
“We started from the bottom and cleaned everything,” Mendez said Thursday afternoon, ticking off a laundry list of repairs that included replacing the plumbing and electrical and repairing the flooring in the kitchen that stretched the length of the 100-year-old building.
Read more here.
Mestizos — 1118 W. St. Mary's Rd.
The old Manna From Heaven fry bread spot on St. Mary's Road is getting new life as a contemporary Mexican restaurant.
Mestizos is the product of Patricia Gomez of Nogales, Sonora, who's cooking a mixture of Sonoran and Sinaloan mariscos dishes, as well as recipes from farther south in Mexico. The menu is still being built out, but Patricia recommended the blue corn quesadillas and the Tacos Mestizos, which are actually more like empanadas.
Mian Sichuan — 4695 N. Oracle Rd.
The main draw at Mian Sichuan (not to be confused with the former MiAn sushi downtown) is volcano noodle soup with Sichuan peppercorns and American cheese.
This new shop in the Tucson Mall area has a small menu of spicy noodle dishes and soups.
Mission Coffee Imports — 606 N. Fourth Ave.
For the past four years, Brian Jerome Peterson and his partners have peddled their fresh-roasted coffee at area farmers markets.
But those nomad days are behind them.
In late January, Peterson and his partners John Howard and Matthew DeVore opened Mission Coffee Imports in the small street-front space at 606 N. Fourth Ave. that was home for nearly a decade to Revolutionary Grounds Books & Coffee.
Momo's — 1838 E. Sixth St.
The old Rosati's Pizza on Sixth Street and Campbell is now a Mexican restaurant called Momo's.
Owner Mauricio Racano has crafted a menu of Sonoran staples as well as dishes from Mexico City, where he's from. In addition to tacos, nachos and Sonoran hot dogs, you'll find a whole section of enchiladas with uncommon fillings like shrimp and Mahi Mahi.
There are also burrito bowls and tortas, which you can get with something called Cabo meat: a mixture of chorizo, ground beef and green chile. They also serve beer, and make their own aguas frescas.
Monster Sonoran Hot Dogs — Near 1000 W. Congress St.
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Tucson, meet the #birria dog ... This #SonoranHotDog comes with two bacon-wrapped wieners and half a pound of birria on top. We got a footlong version they call the Big Monster Dog. Make sure to get a side of birria dipping juice to soak up that beautiful red bun. This new truck @monstersonoranhotdogs just started serving 3-10 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday outside of Menlo Park Liquors. It’s their opening weekend, so expect to wait. But it’s worth it! 🌭 #tucsonfood #thisistucson #sonoranfood
This new food truck takes Sonoran hot dogs into uncharted territory.
Not only are they wrapped in bacon, but they're also slathered in a juicy mound of birria. Monster Sonoran Hot Dogs makes two sizes, a six-inch and a footlong Big Monster Dog, which is tucked into a bright red bun from Alejandro's Tortilla Factory.
Original Cuisine — 1800 E. Fort Lowell Rd.
The Arizona Republic speculated that this may be the best Chinese food in the Phoenix area. Lucky for Tucsonans, a location opened up in the Old Pueblo.
The Sichuan menu caters to adventurous eaters who enjoy dishes such as rabbit with pickled pepper and baby ginger.
Pescaderia y Taqueria Yami — 1926 S. Fourth Ave.
This casual mariscos spot on South Fourth Avenue serves food from the coastal town of Guaymas, Sonora. This means you'll find shrimp cocktails, ceviche, various tostadas with octopus, crab and more.
Pescaderia y Taqueria Yami also has a small market up at the front where you can purchase seafood to-go.
Pirata Luchi — 4602 E. 29th St.
Pirata Luchi opened in December, serving up seafood, from enchiladas to tostadas.
Plaza Eats at Hotel Congress — 311 Congress St.
Downtown weekend revelers with late-night hunger pangs have a new dining option, located within the plaza area at Hotel Congress.
The historic hotel, which is celebrating its 100th year in 2019, recently installed a food trailer meant to accommodate evening traffic, including bar hoppers and post-concert crowds, until 2 a.m., Thursdays through Saturdays.
Dubbed Plaza Eats, the trailer offers a mix of favorites from the hotel’s Cup Café — menu items like the Picacho nachos, lettuce wraps and a plant-based Beyond Burger – and classic international street foods.
Potwhale — 3620 N. First Ave.
At Potwhale, guests cooks their own meats, noodles and veggies in a pot of boiling broth at the center of the table.
Potwhale swims an extra mile by letting you choose from several different broths.
Purple Penguin Candy Emporium — 3392 E. 22nd St.
When Dino Volpi opened his Purple Penguin Candy Emporium on East 22nd Street earlier this year, he was hoping his independent sweets shop would bring back memories for Tucsonans.
The store specializes in selling the candies, chocolates and craft sodas from your youth, no matter what part of the country you hail from.
Grow up in the Pacific Northwest? Have an Idaho Spud with all of its cocoa-marshmallow, soft chew goodness.
Midwest residents can pick up a Cherry Mash, a chocolate shell with cherry-flavored filling, still made in the small Missouri town where it was created in 1918.
If you’re a transplant from Pennsylvania, a few bottles of Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer might satisfy your thirst for home.
The store works with 16 suppliers across the country for inventory.
Read more here.
Red Light Lounge at the Downtown Clifton — 485 S. Stone Ave.
The Red Light Lounge is manned by Donald Murray, formerly of The Dusty Monk.
He's doing interesting cocktails Red Light Lounge, including a Bacanora margarita and drink with Tequila and Pimm's called the Inglaterra.
Rush Bowls — 1058 N. Campbell Ave.
Rush Bowls, a Colorado-based smoothie shop, opened in the former Desert Dream Ice Cream on Speedway and Campbell Avenue.
Rush Bowls offers a range of frozen yogurt, granola and acaí bowls and even has something for your dog, according to the website.
Selena's Salvadorian Restaurant — 2513 N. Campbell Ave.
Luis Gonzalez and his family started making pupusas about five years ago at food festivals like Tucson Meet Yourself, and gradually worked their way up to evening and weekend farmers markets.
By the end of summer, they opened a brick and mortar restaurant in the former Desert Island Eatery, which closed in July after the owners announced on Facebook that they're moving to Phoenix.
Luis said he plans to serve a full Salvadorian menu in addition to the seven varieties of pupusas that he already makes out of his food stand. If you've never had a pupusa before, that's very okay, because they're actually almost impossible to find outside of the Tohono O'Odham Swapmeet on Drexel Road.
The national dish of El Salvador, a pupusa is basically a thick patty of corn masa that's been stuffed with cheese, beans, chicharrones and/or a Central American flower called loroco. The ingredients are cooked together with the fresh masa on a comal, kind of like how you'd make an omelette. Then they're generally eaten with smooth tomato salsa and the pickled cabbage slaw curtido.
Read more here.
Sentinel Peak East — 9155 E. Tanque Verde Rd.
Sentinel Peak Brewing Company headed east with a second location.
The midtown craft brewer took over the Stillhouse Grill and Bar which was rebranded Sentinel Peak East, said Jeremy Hilderbrand, who co-owns the 5-year-old craft brewery with two fellow firefighters.
Sonoran Brunch Company — 1060 S. Kolb Rd.
The original Poco and Mom's space on Kolb Road has gotten a refresh, complete with a license plate ceiling and Danny Martin and Jessica Gonzales murals brightening up the space.
The menu at Sonoran Brunch Company goes for an eclectic Tucson hip vibe, with bright takes on huevos rancheros, chorizo skillet pie and more.
Sweetscape Desserts at Casino del Sol — 5655 W. Valencia Rd.
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Casino Del Sol is looking (and tasting) a little sweeter with the launch of our newest eatery, SweetScape! This new concept created by Executive Chef Ryan Clark and his team will offer guests sweet treats like gelato, donuts, sundaes and even savory items like breakfast sandwiches! 🍩 Open daily from 7am-11pm and located next to our bingo hall, SweetScape is sure to have a treat for everyone! 🍦 #casinodelsol #sweetscape #sweettooth #tucsonfoodie #desertdesserts #dessertqueen #dessertking
When walking near the bingo hall at Casino del Sol, you'll come across the eclectic menu at Sweetscape Desserts.
The dessert shop was created by Chef Ryan Clark and his culinary team. The menu includes gelato, shakes, floats, sundaes, breakfast sandwiches and more.
But you'll probably be drawn in by the colorful donuts from pastry chef Gina Skelton. Her whimsical flavors include fluffernutter, fruit cereal and maple bacon.
Toro Loco Tacos Y Burros — 7940 E. Broadway
Travis and William Miller, the brothers behind the popular Serial Grillers chain of burger and pizza restaurants, are focusing on tacos and burritos in their newest restaurant venture.
The brothers, who also own the midtown taproom Craft, A Modern Drinkery, opened Toro Loco Tacos Y Burros in the recently closed Papa Locos Tacos & Burgers at 7940 E. Broadway.
But Toro Loco is not a Mexican take on Serial Grillers, Miller was quick to note. The menu of specialty burritos and tacos is made with carne asada, chicken, barbacoa, shrimp and carnitas and emulates to some degree the taco shops you find around the beaches in San Diego.
Tortillas by Che West — 2105 S. Sixth Ave.
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Feeling So Blessed Never knew tortillas would be a business. Thankful for so many things. @josegee__ Thank you for being a ride or die type of person! I need that and I am grateful to have you as my business partner! It’s just the beginning and so much to be optimistic about. To have my kids with me while I sell these delicious disks is just icing on the top. It’s only been a week and can’t wait for Saturday to be fully open! Come by tomorrow at 10am to get fresh tortillas and pan dulce. Thank again to everyone helping get my dreams out. 2105 S 6th Ave Tucson, AZ 85713 #cheflife #flaminghotcheetos #chef #chewest #tortillasbychewest #garlicchipotle #tucson #southsixthbodega #tucsonmiamor #everybodyeats #tortilla #infusedtortillas #artisan
You may have seen Jose Zavala's colorful corn tortillas at American Eat Co., but now the local chef is opening his own storefront.
Tortillas by Che West has a variety of non-GMO handmade corn tortillas in creative flavors like garlic green onion, Hot Cheetos, El Pato and more.
He's also selling a variety of flour tortillas and pan dulce from La Estrella Bakery.
Trident Grill IV — 2912 W. Ina Rd.
After months of construction and remodeling including installing a “garage” door, Trident Grill IV officially opened on July 4.
It is the fourth installment of the Trident concept from the trio of Nelson Miller, Danny Gallego and Jason Machamer. And it’s the trio’s second restaurant opening since December, when they launched Trident Pizza Pub in the old Grimaldi’s Pizzeria at 446 N. Campbell Ave.
The owners for several months had been renovating the 4,065-square-foot space at 2912 W. Ina Road that was home to CiCi’s Pizza, which closed in spring 2014.
Tumerico — 402 E. 4th St.
Wendy Garcia has been a tireless ambassador for vegetarian Mexican food at her popular midtown restaurant Tumerico.
In June, she opened her second outpost of Tumerico along bustling North Fourth Avenue.
The location at 402 E. Fourth St., on the corner of North Fourth Avenue, offers a scaled back menu of grab-and-go meals and snacks to complement a full beverage menu of lattes, juices and teas. On weekends, she offers a limited made-to-order menu mirroring what’s offered at the original location, 2526 E. Sixth St.
Whiskey Roads — 2265 W. Ina Rd.
Whiskey Roads, a country-music themed restaurant/night club across from Foothills Mall, opened in the beginning of August.
The space once housed Romano's Macaroni Grill.
Managing partner Fernando Gomez, a chef-owner along with partners Greg Wexler and Josh Arvizu are from Putney’s PitStop Sports Bar & Grill on North Oracle.
Read more here.
Wings on Fire — 9040 E. Valencia Rd.
Wings on Fire opened in the Rita Ranch area earlier this year. The wing restaurant serves a variety of flavored wings including lemon pepper, honey mustard and spicy barbecue.
Also on the menu: salads, sandwiches and hot dogs.
Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at email@example.com or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch