Although summer in Tucson is traditionally a time when people and businesses slow down, many new business owners view this season as an opportunity to test out new ideas and dial in their operations before the fall rush. It’s also a great time for creative local chefs to run specials and features to lure people in from their air-conditioned homes.
Reforma Cocina Y Cantina is a new concept from the guys that brought us Union Public House. Opening in October in the former Vivace location at St. Philip’s Plaza (and across from Union Public House), Reforma will focus on authentic dishes and flavors of central Mexico. Look for a made-from-scratch kitchen, house ground masa for fresh tortillas, and an expansive selection of tequilas, mezcals, and bacanoras. UnionTucson.com
Specialty olive oil stores are trending, cropping up in new locations all over the country. Tucson Olive Central recently opened next door to the former downtown Buffalo Exchange. An outpost of Tubac Olive Oil, they carry “cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oils from olive varieties such as Picual, Arbequina, Arbosana, Frantoio, Coratina, Koroneiki, and Moresca.” Just remember—the better the oil, the less you should actually cook with it. 222 E. Congress St. 520.887.3339. TucsonGourmetFoods.com
US Fries plans to launch their new chain on Aug. 15 right here in Tucson. While the jury is out on if a French fry based concept will work, this Canada-based company is giving it a go. Opening in a former tattoo shop on Fourth Avenue, US Fries will serve a number of poutine varieties that consist of a French fry base topped with a variety of different meat, cheese, and sauce options. Think: Eegee’s chili cheese fries in 22 different ways. USFries.com
The owners of Choice Greens will open Graze: Premium Burgers & Handcut Fries in early August. Slated to open in their recently closed BTO Yogurt on Speedway, Graze will feature Niman Ranch beef, grass fed beef options, fresh, hand cut, Belgian style Kennenec fries, and organic soft serve. GrazePremiumBurgers.com
Cakelab Bakery and Food In Roothave partnered to bring the first ever food park. Starting June 13, Friday Night Food Fest will take place every Friday from 4 – 8 p.m. at Fourth Avenue and Fourth Street. The weekly event will feature fresh produce, food vendors, music, and art. For more information and schedules, visit foodinroot.com.
Maynards Kitchen’s new chef, Jared Scott, is rolling out a new summer menu. Updating favorite fall features with seasonal summer bounty, Chef Scott is also adding an array of new menu items. Standouts include Confit Duck Leg Salad, with baby kale, arugula with a wedge of grilled radicchio, caramalized cipollini onion, fava bean, confit heirloom tomato, dressed in a warm smoky duck-cherry vinaigrette, and the Summer Vegetable Scrapple, with farro polenta, asparagus and summer squash “scrapple” with wild mushroom ragu, grilled asparagus, charred heirloom tomato vinaigrette with lemon confiture. 400 N. Toole Ave. 520.545.0577. MaynardsTucson.com.
Kingfisher kicked off the first leg of their 2014 Summer Road Trip menu series on June 5 by featuring the cuisine of California and Hawaii. As they snake around the country, Chefs Fred Harris, Jim Murphy, and Jeff Azersky will feature the Pacific Northwest and Great Plains/Midwest for two weeks each in June, Down South and Back East in July, and return home to feature the Southwest from August 15 – 31. 2564 E. Grant Rd. 520.323.7739. KingfisherTucson.com.
If the most recent new Whole Foods at River and Craycroft is any indication of what you can expect at the new Whole Foods at Ina and Oracle, there’s much to be excited about. Opening Aug. 27, this Whole Foods will be twice the size of the original. The River location has a sit-down beer bar (with food menu), a killer cheese selection, deli, fresh pizza made to order (and pizza by the slice, too), gelato, and a full cafe. WholeFoods.com✜
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 TucsonFoodie.com.