John and Yongson Rueb left their corporate Chicago jobs behind in search of a simpler life for themselves and their two young children. After buying a 100-year-old farm in Amado and naming it Forever Yong Farm, the farming couple tried to grow “just about everything” as they travelled up a steep learning curve. Today, twenty years later, the Ruebs successfully grow over 20 varieties of garlic and strive to “make it so everyone can afford local quality produce.”
Janos Wilder wasn’t always the award-winning chef and restauranteur that he is today. Before the businesses, the accolades, the name, there were civil rights protests, line cook jobs, and unpaid French internships, all of which led Janos Wilder to open the highly successful Downtown Kitchen+Cocktails, gain inspiration for The Carriage House, and dedicate his life to food in the Southwest.
Erika and Jake Muñoz turned their food truck into a brick and mortar establishment that seems to always have a line out front. The married duo considers food to be their passion and their love, which is evident in everything they offer. Primarily focused on Mexican dishes (from all six regions of Mexico) based on fresh, whole ingredients, Erika and Jake Muñoz will continue to share their culture and heritage with people through both the Seis food truck and restaurant.
Sam Allison started working at the Arizona Inn as a cook 15 years ago. Today, after years of dedication, he leads the kitchen as executive chef.
Sally Kane did it all: dishwasher, prep cook, baker. After paying her dues and working with food in both Ireland and San Francisco, Kane returned to her roots in Tucson to open The Coronet, named Tucson’s best restaurant by USA Today two years in a row. Today, she brings intimacy and local ingredients to her three Tucson establishments: The Coronet, Agustín Kitchen, and Aka Deli and Bakeshop.
The Page Family opened their first business in Bisbee back when the city resembled a ghost town—and there were few customers to be found. Twenty years of perseverance later, the family successfully owns four prominent businesses in the city: Bisbee Coffee Company, The Table, Santiago’s, and the Hotel San Ramon.
Kent Callaghan isn’t just making wine; he’s making wine that tells the story of Southern Arizona. The tangible success of Callaghan Vinyards relies on Callaghan’s hands-on work with his soil, his grapes, and his community.
The Flores Family has owned El Charro Café for almost 100 years. The family, which spans three generations, credits El Charro’s long-lasting success to their dedication to honoring their family’s legacy.
Scott Mencke is the man behind the giant tiki head on Fourth Avenue in Tucson. After successfully taking over The Hut in 2005, Mencke decided to persue his other passion: ocean sustainability. Mencke’s seafood restaurant, Fini’s Landing, does more than serve up a wide array of delicious seafood; it serves as the only restaurant in Tucson partnering with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program to serve sustainable seafood.
Matt Montgomery began distilling whiskey when (lucky for us) the housing market crash prevented him from buying his favorite high-end spirits at the liquor store. Today, he successfully distributes Arizona-infused, “desert to glass” spirits that don’t seem to stay on the shelves for very long.