Radish toast with labneh yogurt, $7, is one of the breakfast items at Tucson's new cafe Monsoon Chocolate. 

Some lucky lady gets to visit all the new restaurants that have opened in Tucson and compile a list every month for our voracious readers/eaters. Since we're about halfway through the year, we decided make a MEGA LIST of everything that's opened in 2018. 🤓

Yes, we are missing a few concepts, like the Fourth Avenue music venue Cans Deli, and Tap + Bottle's shipping container outpost Westbound. These places are so new, they've slipped through this lucky lady's fingers ... for now. (Anything else we/I/she missed? Let somebody know by emailing aberlin@tucson.com.)

Otherwise this list is pretty complete, and shall I say, freaking tasty. Let's just take a moment to reflect and revel in how diverse our culinary scene is right now. Artisan chocolates on the southside, specialty ramen and Chinese noodles, a cocktail bar that pours only Arizona spirits? Tucson, we've made it! Now let's eat it?

Monsoon Chocolate

234 E. 22nd St., 520-396-3189


Monsoon Chocolate is in the former La Buena tortilla factory at South Fourth and 22nd Street. 

This southside spot is part artisan chocolate shop, part airy cafe with a trendy breakfast and lunch menu. Monsoon Chocolate specializes in bean-to-bar chocolate confections bursting with local ingredients like chiltepin peppers and Whiskey del Bac. Check out the breakfast toasts, which feature housemade bread and a mosaic of well-placed ingredients.      

Hours: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.

Series 19

13 N. Stone Ave., 520-303-1199


Series 19 is primarily a cocktail bar, with not a beer in sight. 

Downtown Tucson's newest cocktail bar Series 19 opened last week, pouring locally-distilled spirits from across Arizona. It's an offshoot of Three Wells Distilling Company, which produces prickly pear spirits and more from a warehouse on Tucson's south side. The cocktail menu showcases the Three Wells line, which now includes two gins, agave spirits, vodka and even bourbon. We enjoyed the Sonoran Margarita on a recent visit. 

Hours: 4 to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 3 p.m. to midnight Fridays, 2 p.m. to midnight Saturdays, and 1 to 8 p.m. Sundays

Halfwheel Coffeehouse

1832 E. Sixth St., 520-499-3830


The iced mocha at Halfwheel had a nice chocolaty touch, but wasn't overly sweet. 

This new coffee counter Halfwheel Coffeehouse is actually part of a bike shop called Re-Cycle, which recently took up residence in a former Bernie Sanders campaign office. Halfwheel serves Exo Roast coffee and La Estrella Bakery pastries in a bright but homey space on Sixth and Campbell. Peak around the corner and you'll see a full-service bike shop flanking the back of the store. 

Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays

Hoki Poki


Poke bowl with salmon, yellowtail and every topping for $9.75 at Hoki Poki. 

This east-side shop from Bin An lets you choose your own poke destiny. Hoki Poki's bowls are more substantial than An's downtown venue MiAn Sushi, because you can pile on ingredients like spicy tuna, seaweed salad, mandarin oranges and more. (If you're not feeling the poke bowl you can also choose to wrap it all up into a sushi burrito.) At $9.75 for a substantial two scoop bowl, it's one of the best poke deals in town. 

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day

Lindy’s off Fourth


Lindy's Off Fourth is roomy for its industrial vibe, with that characteristic local art all over the walls. 

East-side residents can now get their Blue Suede Cows without having to travel to Fourth Avenue. Lindy's opened a second location on Tanque Verde this month in the former home of Great American Steakburger. The "offbeat" burger menu remains the same, but the space is substantially bigger and roomier, and sports a full bar area with eight beers on tap. 

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays

Nick’s Sari Sari Store 

2001 S. Craycroft Road, 520-406-3593


Halo Halo, $4.50, at Nick's Sari-Sari Store .. Wow that's a mouthful. This shaved ice has fruit jellies and purple yam ice cream. 

This Filipino market recently moved to a new location near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and is now sporting a separate cafe with buffet-style dishes at the front counter. Nick's Sari Sari Store is doing all the specialties like lumpia egg rolls, pork adobo and crunchy sisig. ($6.50 will get you two scoops and white rice.) But everyone had a cup of Halo Halo in their hands. This shaved ice with fruit jellies and purple yam ice cream is worth the trip on its own. 

Hours: Mondays through Saturdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed Sundays


3502 E. Grant Road, 520-305-4262


Sichuan spicy beef noodles, $11, feature housemade wheat noodles in a numbingly sour broth at Noodleholics. 

Despite the name's all-encompassing nature, Noodleholics actually specializes in homemade rice noodles from a region in Southern China called Guilin. Although, the packed midtown restaurant sports dishes from across the mainland including wonton noodles and spicy Dan Dan. The wonder that is Noodleholics deserves more than a little paragraph here, so I will say this ... go there! Please? If I have done anything to earn your trust, run with me on this one. It's so good! 

Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays, closed Mondays

Ren Coffeehouse

4300 N. Campbell Ave., 520-638-6290


Avocado toast with cream cheese and a poached egg, and a cold brew coffee from Ren Coffeehouse. 

This chic coffee shop is tucked back into a sleepy plaza at St. Philip's, where Arizona Cyclist used to be. Owner Lisa Ocker is a Wisconsin transplant and sources her coffee from Colectivo out of Milwaukee. Ren Coffeehouse also has a nice lunch menu of paninis, simple salads and a gorgeous avocado toast with perfectly poached egg on Barrio Bread. A hidden gem! 

Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays



Tamarind just opened in the former home of The Lodge Sasquatch Kitchen at the Foothills Mall. 

This Foothills mall restaurant Tamarind has a large menu of dishes from all over India, including the burrito-like kati rolls and a whole category of "Mystic Masalas." But, you're probably going to go for the lunch buffet, which looked eclectic and plentiful on a recent visit. I've yet to sit down and try it, but as always, let me know what you think!  

Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. lunch buffet and 5 to 10 p.m. dinner service Tuesdays through Sundays, closed Mondays

Alloro D.O.C. Italian Trattoria and Chophouse 

7600 E. Broadway, 520-721-5690

A familiar face has taken over the kitchen in the Hilton East's gourmet Italian venture Alloro D.O.C.. Chef Virgina "Ginny" Wooters of The Abbey is now at the helm, and is putting her signature panache into the modern Italian classics like high-quality steaks and fresh pasta. At the grand opening, chefs mixed up some Fettuccine Alfredo inside a giant wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano, so let's hope for similar theatrics in the future.  

Hours: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., with kitchen closing at 10 p.m. Monday-Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., with kitchen closing at 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 

American Eat Co. 

1439 S. Fourth Ave., 520-867-8700


The late lunch crowd digs in at American Eat Co., 1439 S. Fourth Ave. More than 5,000 customers visited on its debut weekend.

It's finally here, guys! American Eat Co., the southside's first food hall opened at the beginning of April. The former carnicería has been transformed into an industrial chic lounge with six restaurants, a coffee shop, local ice cream, meat market and full bar. Highlights include the "Chicano Hood Eats" at Avenues, ahi tuna poke tacos at Dumb Fish and micheladas at the Market Bar. For the full list of suggestions, check out our guide here.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday

Besties Fish and Burger

14 W. Grant Road, 520-307-8506

🍔🍔🍔 #openingsoon

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Classic's Kade Mislinksi is at it again with what he says is his final restaurant, Besties Fish and Burger. The midtown joint pays homage to the titans of fast food in what he calls "Long John Silver's meets White Castle." The specialty here is steamed burgers like they have back east in Connecticut, where Kade spent summers as a kid. Pair that with some French fries, hush puppies and battered fish and you've got the restaurant's signature combo, the BFF.    

Insomnia Cookies


This is every cookie on the menu at Insomnia Cookies. Yup, that's M&M's! 

Nationwide cookie chain Insomnia Cookies promises warm cookie deliveries to your door until 3 a.m. every day. The menu sticks to classics like white chocolate macadamia, oatmeal raisin, double chocolate chunk and more. We ate through all of them and our favorite was the peanut butter, which comes in a small size as well as a deluxe chocolate peanut butter cup. The chain also serves ice cream cookie sandwiches, cookie cakes and brownies.  

Hours: 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday and Sunday


3655 E. Speedway, 520-327-2778


This plush sushi joint used to be a Denny's on Speedway. 

The owner of south-side Hana Tokyo recently opened this all-you-can-eat sushi spot Izumi in a former Denny's on Speedway. Ramen is what sets them apart; You can order small bowls of tonkotsu, miso and baitan ramen on the all-you-can-eat menu, in addition to oysters and crab legs. We're also excited about the $11 sushi lunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The buffet features five or six cold rolls as well as fried rice, tempura and more.  

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Just Breakfast on Silverbell


Waitress Christy Watson chats with Jeff Chilson, right, as he waits for his order at the newly opened Just Breakfast, 8579 N. Silverbell Road. The owners of the adjacent Home Plate restaurant and sports bar run Just Breakfast.

A breakfast diner owned by someone named Rick James ... Just Breakfast on Silverbell is right next to the Home Plate Marana sports bar in the Continental Ranch neighborhood. The menu has all your breakfast faves like omelettes, breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, waffles and more: all for under $10. 

Hours: 6 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Pizza Luna


The cheese board, $12, comes with Humbolt fog, grain mustard, fig jam, pickled veggies, Israeli Feta, Finocchiona and Sopressata salami, prosciutto, Fontina cheese, olives and crostini. 

Nestled in the Trader Joe's shopping center on Speedway and Wilmot, this gourmet pizza spot does a brisk slice business during lunch. Pizza Luna specializes in "neo-Neapolitan" pies that are cold-fermented for 72 hours, yielding a full crust with nuanced flavors. This little place has one of the best cheese plates in town, but also look out for interesting toppings like the Pizza Verde with Mediterranean lamb sausage and a housemade pesto sauce.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays- and 4-8 p.m. Sunday

El Patron

4579 S. 12th Ave., 520-203-8396


The Tostada El Patron, $23.99, is a tower of abalone, octopus, crab, shrimp and more paired with a snail and an oyster shot. 

There's a new bar and grill next door to Rollie's Mexican Patio on South Twelfth Avenue. The space used to be a Mr. Baja Fish, but now it's El Patron Bar and Grill which serves a wide range of Jalisco-style meat and mariscos dishes, with an emphasis on the bar and live mariachi. The restaurant is part of the Taco Giro name, but these guys do delivery within a square mile of the restaurant.  

Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day with kitchen closing at 10 p.m.

Arizona Wine Collective

4280 N Campbell Ave., 520-329-8595


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St. Philip's Plaza has a new wine bar that focuses on wines from across this great state. Arizona Wine Collective is owned by Jeanne and Pete Snell, who cut his teeth working at the tasting room at Sonoita's Callaghan Vineyards. The cozy spot in the former Scordato's Pizzeria has eight wine taps, six beer taps and bottles from 11 different wineries in Sonoita, Cochise County, the Verde Valley and beyond. The duo also serves a small snack menu of charcuterie, popcorn and local cheeses from Peace, Love and Smoked Cheese. There are no TV's, only wine, glorious wine.   

Hours: 2 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 2 to 9 p.m. Fridays, noon to 9 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 8 p.m. Sundays, closed Mondays

Berry Divine Acaí bowls


On the left there's the Summit Bowl with chocolate, peanut butter and more. The bowl on the right is called Maui Wowie, and has pineapple, cashews and honey. 

Brazilian acaí bowls arrived downtown last month with the opening of Berry Divine, a Sedona-based shop owned by former pastry chef Todd Shreve. The blueberry-like fruit, widely considered a superfood, gets blended into fruity smoothies and run through a soft-serve machine for healthy desserts. Each acaí bowl has about a dozen ingredients including fresh fruit, chocolate, granola, flax seed and more.   

Hours: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week

Caravan Grill


Syrian pastries, clockwise from top: baklava, the cheese pastry kunafa with light cream, mammoul cookie, namoura semolina cake and a burma pistachio log in the middle.  

The midtown shop formerly occupied by Za'atar has been taken over by the neighboring Caravan Market, who developed a Mediterranean lunch menu with various falafel plates, gyros and chicken shawarma. Caravan Grill still has its beautiful stone oven, which produces Iraqi Samoun breads as well as delicate Syrian pastries like the addicting Burma logs made from shredded filo dough and fresh pistachios.   

Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays

Harbottle Brewing Company

Harbottle opened earlier this year in a southside neighborhood also home to Ten Fifty-Five and Nimbus. Originally named Flux Brewing, this 7-barrel brewhouse has a 1,000-square foot tasting room. Tap + Bottle alums Michael Figueira, Andy Shlicker and business partner Sam Kroack are working on some funky stuff like mixed-fermentation ales and lagers. The sour beer Kentucky Sunglasses comes highly recommended, in addition to the English bitter Nigel Tufnel, named after a "This is Spinal Tap" character.       

Hours: noon to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, noon to midnight Fridays and Saturdays

Indian Twist


Indian Twist, in the space that formerly housed Twisted Tandoor, offers a $10.95 lunch buffet.

Twisted Tandoor closed last November, but now the space holds a Northern Indian restaurant called Indian Twist. The retro chic space has gone unchanged, but now you'll find a simple $10.95 lunch buffet flanking the sides of the open kitchen. The regular menu is filled with familiar Indian restaurant fare like shrimp saag and chicken tikka masala. But the restaurant also has a hefty vegetarian section with moderately-priced lentil dishes, chana masala and more. 

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. lunch buffet (with regular menu) and 3:30 to 9 p.m. seven days a week

Kiss of Smoke

663 S. Plumer Ave., 520-270-7917


Kiss of Smoke BBQ is tucked back on Plumer next to the coolest dive bar ever The Silver Room. 

Tucked back into a residential neighborhood south of Broadway, Kiss of Smoke serves wood-fired barbecue dishes like pulled pork and mesquite-smoked chicken. Brandi Romero and her family originally started out as a competition barbecue team, but transitioned into a popular food truck and now a brick and mortar restaurant. She insists you've gotta try the pulled pork tacos with chipotle bacon slaw, which are fried with a crispy shell. The "fatties" are also a popular snack: Breakfast sausage is stuffed with mozzarella cheese and green chiles, then smoked and sliced into cracker-sized bites.    

Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. breakfast service, and 10 a.m. until they sell out (around 6 or 7 p.m.) Wednesdays through Saturdays

Queen Sheba

5553 E. Grant Road, 520-276-3476


A make-your-own meat combination platter at Queen Sheba, clockwise from top: spicy chicken, red lentils, spicy beef, shiro, spicy beef tibsi, alicha, berbere lamb, cabbage and spinach.   

Welday Gebrezgabher Gezehen brings his native cuisine of Eritrea to a midtown neighborhood near Tucson Medical Center. The northeast African country shares many recipes with neighboring Ethiopia, but Queen Sheba also has some distinctly Eritrean dishes like the volcano-shaped cornmeal porridge ga'at and spongy Himbasha bread. The bright but homey restaurant is also BYOB with a $1 corkage fee.  

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 9 p.m. Sundays

Raijin Ramen

2955 E. Speedway, 520-795-3123


Raijin's spicy tonkotsu ramen, $10, has thin slices of chashu pork, bamboo shoots, seaweed, pickled ginger and more. 

Tucson's first ramen house has nine varieties on the menu including a spicy tonkotsu pork and a mean bowl of vegan ramen. Raijin Ramen is owned by Jun and Diana Arai of the east-side izakaya Ginza Sushi. Jun learned his craft by working at a ramen restaurant in the Nagano Prefecture outside of Tokyo. 

Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, and 4 to 9 p.m. Sundays. Closed Mondays.


You can find the Star's digital food writer Andi Berlin at a taqueria near you, taking tiny bites and furiously scribbling into an old notepad.