Tucked into an unassuming strip mall just east of Craycroft on Speedway, at Good Day Café, the staff wear tuxedo T-shirts and friendly smiles. Tim Lowery opened the café in 2013 with the help of his daughter, Karen McKissick, both on a mission to create a restaurant where everything is homemade and priced right. “Breakfast shouldn’t cost you what you spend for dinner,” Lowery says, noting that it’s one of the few places in town where customers can still buy a $1.99 breakfast meal any time of the day.
Lowery’s passion for quality food is a driving force behind Good Day Café’s menu: “You’re coming here for breakfast, you should get the best breakfast you can get,” he says. The pancakes are made from his grandmother’s recipe, as is the chicken-fried steak. Everything is made from scratch. Lowery grew up near 29th and Craycroft, and he says that he likes giving back to the community he grew up in. “It’s a pleasure to have a business right here in Tucson, especially here in my neighborhood,” he says. His focus on community doesn’t stop with serving good food; Lowery makes a point of buying all his ingredients through Merit Foods, a Tucson-based food distribution company, and keeps his soda fountain stocked through Kalil Bottling Company, another Tucson-based vendor.
“Growing up in a military family, you learn how to cook,” he says. “I like doing weird combinations; it would be fun to blindfold everyone, sit them down, and let them eat something different instead of the same thing.” He recently debuted one such “weird” item, an alternative to hashbrowns he calls “tater balls.” Customers choose their own mix-ins to be added to shredded potatoes, which are formed into balls and deep-fried. Lowery recommends dipping them in his homemade bourbon syrup, the recipe of which is a closely guarded secret. Just in time for the start of the NFL season, Lowery added 32 NFL-themed burgers to the lunch menu, inspired by the top-selling foods served at each team’s stadium.
Yet ultimately, it’s not about the food. Lowery describes how some of his staff members came to Good Day Café after facing their share of troubles. “You see things go from [serving] food to changing people’s lives,” Lowery says. “It’s fun to come together with people who thought life was almost gone, [who have] come back from that, and be friends.” It may manifest as serving breakfast and lunch, but for Lowery, it comes down to the people. “I have a passion for people, because people change. Just like new foods, everyone deserves a chance.” ✜
Good Day Café. 5683 E. Speedway Blvd. 520.722.9621.