Jorge Miranda of AZ Rib House holds up his elote lollipop with cotija cheese at the brand-new American Eat Co. on South Fourth Avenue. 

When you browse this list of new restaurant openings, you might notice that almost nothing is downtown. Instead we're seeing trendy concepts open in underexposed neighborhoods like midtown and South Fourth Avenue. 

Everybody is talking about American Eat Co., the swanky food hall that'll surely change the ambiance of South Fourth as we know it. (Next up: Monsoon Chocolate is set to open up down the street in the former La Buena tortilla factory.) But smaller projects include Besties Fish and Burger by Kade Mislinki. This fast food joint is just about to open for reals in the former Mother Hubbard's spot next to Grant-Stone Market. 

There's also a solid pizza place next to Trader Joe's on the east side. And while we're talking Italian, we can't leave out Ginny Wooters' work at the newly-renovated Hilton East. Yay Tucson!    

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. Also, the restaurant is currently running a 20 percent discount for military and first responders. 

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 food court American Eat Co. is currently in its soft-opening phase, but that hasn't stopped the crowds ...

It's finally here, guys! American Eat Co., the southside's first food hall is currently in soft-opening stages with a grand opening set for Tuesday April 3. 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. We haven't had a chance to eat our way through this behemoth yet, but we do recommend the elote lollipop at AZ Rib House (pictured up top).  

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

A post shared by Kade_Mislinski (@kadetree) on

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. The restaurant is currently in the friends-and-family stage but Kade promised a grand opening by Saturday, April 7.   

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 tonkatsu, miso and baitan ramen on the all-you-can-eat menu, in addition to oysters and crab legs. We're also excited for the $11 sushi lunch buffet starting April 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The buffet will feature 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.

On the horizon ... 

Chef Lindon Reilly of Lindy's is putting the finishing touches on his new food truck, Big Daddy’s Kitchen

Casa Film Bar has begun construction on its second location in the old Miss Saigon building at 8225 N. Courtney Page Way. The new spot is called Casa Marana Craft Beer and Wine, according to Facebook

— with reporting from Cathalena E. Burch


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.