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 firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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?
234 E. 22nd St., 520-396-3189
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.
13 N. Stone Ave., 520-303-1199
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
1832 E. Sixth St., 520-499-3830
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
6501 E. Grant Road, Suite 121, 520-500-5551
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
8995 E. Tanque Verde Road, 520-721-5855
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
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
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
4300 N. Campbell Ave., 520-638-6290
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
7265 N. La Cholla Blvd., 520-797-7799
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
The Alloro D.O.C. Trattoria and Chophouse offers diners a variety of modern Italian dishes with one ingredient common to all successful Italian cooking...love! There are a number of items on the menu that are exclusively imported from Italy and prepared uniquely and table-side, something customers will not find elsewhere. . . . #italy #italia #italian #food #italianfood #cuisine #roma #rome #florence #positano #milano #milan #heaven #travel #travels #eat #travelgram #traveling #tourism #picoftheday #awesome #beautiful #vacation #vacations #foodie #escape #beauty
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
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
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.
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
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
8579 N. Silverbell Road, 520-389-8643
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
1101 N. Wilmot Road, Suite 119, 520-344-7637
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
4579 S. 12th Ave., 520-203-8396
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
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
245 E. Congress St, Suite 159, 520-274-7936
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
2825 N. Country Club Road, 520-323-0082
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
3820 S. Palo Verde Road, Suite 102, 520-499-2518
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
4660 E. Camp Lowell Drive, 520-495-5499
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
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
5553 E. Grant Road, 520-276-3476
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
2955 E. Speedway, 520-795-3123
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.