New Eats: May, 2014

New and Exciting Eats around Baja Arizona.

May 1, 2014

Issue 6: May/June 2014New Eats
Something sweet to start? Fresh Mexican pastries from El Triunfo Bakery are on offer at Taco Urbano.

Something sweet to start? Fresh Mexican pastries from El Triunfo Bakery are on offer at Taco Urbano.

With everything mentioned, in last issue’s New Eats, you’d think there couldn’t be nearly enough fresh local news to fill an entire column with. Think again.

A no-brainer of an idea, Café Botanica opened inside the Tucson Botanical Gardens not long ago. Inspired by the “culinary traditions of the Sonoran desert and high-desert of Northern New Mexico,” they feature local produce, meats, and cheese. They’re only open from 9 ‘til 4 p.m., so you’ll have to skip this option for dinner. Menu highlights include Slow Roasted Double Check Ranch Beef Tacos, Josh’s Shredded Willcox Chicken Torta, Seasonal Green Salads, and soups made from scratch. Bonus points for being at the Botanical Gardens.

Viva’s Bar + Grill has taken over what used to be Sabor Tropical near Karuna’s Thai at 1929 E. Grant, just east of Campbell. It’s a small menu featuring just three types of tacos, a burger, wings, Caesar salad, and fries. Try the Al Pastor taco, made with pork. Bacon comes from pork, too. Bacon. Sorry … lost my train of thought there for a second.

Another Campbell Avenue restaurant is coming soon. Pionic Pizza & Pasta is currently under construction at 2643 N. Campbell Ave. No word yet on menu or open date, but word is there’s a connection to The Eclectic. And, everyone loves The Eclectic. Visit for more information.

Brushfire BBQ recently opened an Ice Creamery next door to their east side location at 22nd and Kolb. All flavors are made in-house daily, and although we haven’t made it over to the new location just yet, samples were available at SAACA’s Savor event, which were delicious.

Goodness Juice Bar & Fresh Food is open in the former Umi Star space at 2502 N. Campbell, just north of Grant, and features fresh pressed juices, salads, wraps, sandwiches, smoothies, and healthy bowls such as a Roast Vegetable & Quinoa Bowl and a Kale Bowl.

In April, Taco Urbano opened quietly at 2513 N. Campbell, across the street from the new Goodness Juice Bar & Fresh Food. Started by the family that owned Aguirre’s Mexican Food, Taco Urbano cooks everything on an actual grill, as opposed to a flat top, and is hoping to shift into cooking their chicken and carne asada out back over mesquite. As an added bonus, they open at 7 a.m. during the week (8 a.m. on Saturday) and feature fresh daily Mexican pastries from El Triunfo Bakery.

Former manager of Gentle Ben’s and Barrio Brewing Gerard Meurer recently opened Baja Café at 7002 E. Broadway Blvd., at the southwest corner of Broadway and Kolb, in the former Biscuits Café. Serving breakfast and lunch only, everything is made fresh and the menu strays considerably from standard fare with ingredients and items such as House Made Granola, Jalapeño Bacon, Red Velvet Pancakes, Hatch chiles, nopalitos, Prickly Pear Salad, house made adobo sauce, and much more.

Not the freshest of news, but in case you missed it, Blu: A Wine & Cheese Stop opened a dedicated location at the Mercado San Agustín in addition to their smaller, remote locations inside of Alfonso’s Olive Oil & Balsamica at St. Philip’s Plaza and their new store at Oracle and Magee.

For all you coffee fiends, local roaster Yellow Brick Coffee will open a stand-alone store at 3220 S. Dodge Blvd. It should be a pretty cool space, built out with recycled industrial materials. In addition to serving and roasting coffee, YBC also plans on using the space to promote coffee education with weekend cuppings (tastings) and courses, as well as to offer local artists a place to showcase and sell their creations.

In further downtown revitalization news, word recently broke of a possible 6,000-square-foot, full-service, grocery store to open in December in the former Beowulf Alley at 11 S. Sixth Ave. And, no, it won’t just be weightlifting shakes. At the new Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market, the current and former owners of Rincon Market, Ron Abbott and Paul Cisek respectively, plan to offer a range of specialty and organic foods, as well as bicycle delivery service. What is this, Marin County? ✜

Since 2009, Adam Lehrman as Tucson Foodie has provided opinions and information on a wide variety of topics pertaining to food in Tucson. Find him on the web at

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