Tucson is experiencing a surge of comestible-oriented establishments—we can hardly keep pace. Check in and report back on these new eats!
The Metzger family have a few projects in town—think The Abbey and Jax Kitchen. A new project of theirs, Gio Taco (350 E. Congress) opened up in January and is serving incredible “no rules” tacos. Although Jax Kitchen closed its doors in February, the Metzgers are staying busy, opening Poppy Kitchen in the former J Bar location (3770 E. Sunrise Drive at Westin La Paloma). The menu will offer a fusion of the flavors and flair of the Metzgers’ other spots across town—but with a better view.
In December, Iron Chef-winner Ryan Clark opened his new restaurant Agustín Kitchen in the Mercado San Agustín (130 S. Avenida del Convento). Agustín Kitchen features “local new American cuisine” and highlights ingredients native to Baja Arizona. Want to try some of the Iron Chef magic at home? Clark’s new cookbook, Modern Southwest Cooking, is now available at bookstores.
Seis Kitchen, the food truck that derives its style from the “six culinary regions of Mexico” is settling into brick and mortar in the same building as Agustín Kitchen—although they promise to maintain their presence as a food truck and catering business. Another food truck, Serial Grillers (5737 E. Speedway Blvd.), has found a static location, serving pizza, sandwiches, burgers, and salads. (Their dishes are often named after fictional serial killers from the big screen.)
If you’re like me, you’re champing at the bit for the opening of the new locally sourced Proper Meatery (the second Tucson project by Proper restaurant owner Paul Moir)—but the locally sourced butcher shop opening has been postponed until the fall. Patience: good things come to those who wait.
Want breakfast? You have two new options: Prep & Pastry (3073 N. Campbell Ave.) has been slammed since it opened in January. Don’t let the upscale breakfast, brunch, and lunch mislead you—most dishes are priced under $10. Another great breakfast and lunch spot is helping the longtime Ethiopian-favorite Cafe Desta bridge the gap between downtown Tucson and South Tucson: At 5 Points Market & Café, the menu is simple and simply delicious. To meet the needs of hungry residents of Barrio Viejo, Armory Park, and Barrio Santa Rosa, the market will be building inventory to offer a variety of staples, like produce, milk, flour, hot sauce, cereal, and coffee (from Café Aquí)—and, eventually, beer and wine.
While restaurants often open weeks (ahem, months) later than planned, Nox (6370 N. Campbell Ave.) actually opened on schedule this January. Enjoy the new American cuisine and craft cocktails while surrounded by deer mounts, aged wood paneling, and intimate lighting. If you’re in the mood, shimmy up to the wrap-around bar that’s partly outside, open to the patio.
Plans for a February opening of The Coronet (402 E. 9th St.) have been pushed to March, but it’ll be worth the wait. Owners Sally Kane and Gregor Kretschmann have a vision for their Brasserie-style restaurant—the “old world rustic cuisine” theme will extend right down to the details in the light fixtures and picture frames.
A few of our local favorites have expanded: Tucson Tamale Company opened up a new location in the northeast side of town (7153 E. Tanque Verde) and Miss Saigon has a new downtown location (47 N. Sixth Avenue). Diana Teran of La Tuana Tortilla has opened up a healthy option for Mexican food. Committed to non-GMO, organic, and natural ingredients, Mexico In Season (3820 S. Palo Verde) promises to be a great option for vegans, though there will also be many non-vegan options.
Easily missed on the busy Fourth Ave., 4th Avenue Delicatessen (425 N. Fourth Ave.) serves Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, as well as bread from the locally owned Viro’s Bakery. They invite you to “come for the sandwich, stay for the pickle!”
Spanish-style dining informs the menu and atmosphere of the new Bodega Kitchen & Wine. An emphasis is put on pairing wine, beer, and cocktails to food in this new addition to St. Philip’s Plaza.
It’s finally here: Chris Bianco, of the legendary Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, will be opening a Tucson location (272 E. Congress St.) in April—look for full coverage in the May issue. Bon Appétit and Vogue have both rated Pizzeria Bianco best in the nation. ✜
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Jared R. McKinley is the associate publisher of Edible Baja Arizona.