In an effort to break free from a restaurant rut, my husband and I visited a new-to-us eatery last week. Located at 266 East Congress Street in downtown Tucson, Hub Restaurant and Creamery became a fast favorite for us. The extensive construction on Congress made getting to the location challenging, to say the least. Once we walked through the door, though, the street noise faded and we were welcomed into a chic dining space with industrial-urban flair. Despite Hub's soaring ceilings and brick facades, there is very much a cozy feel to the space; booth seating lends itself to an intimate dining experience and Hub has plenty of that. So, too, does the restaurant feature quirky decor: ropes line one massive wall and a collection of lamps hung upside down anchor the end of the space. The restaurant also features an ice cream counter every bit as authentic as those found in soda shops in days gone by.
Fair warning: this menu is not for the faint of heart (or appetite). Boasting appetizers like "Cheesy Tots" or "Fries and Fresh Curds," even eying the menu might put on calories. My husband is one of the lucky few who can't be bothered with calorie counts; he opted for a corned beef and Swiss sandwich ($11), served with his choice of fries or tots. I chose the Shanghai salad ($12)--a fresh concoction of roasted chicken, cashews, cabbage, veggies and a sesame ginger dressing, which I asked for on the side to keep my calories in check. Both my husband and I found our respective entrees to be not only appealing to the eye, but also fresh and flavorful. Portion sizes were more than generous, which--between you and me--gave me the excuse to steal some crispy tater tots from my husband's plate. Shh!
Of course, with that ice cream menu taunting us from across the room, we were practically forced to succumb. Jeff went with caramel pretzel while I walked on the wild side with a scoop of sweetcorn blackberry. Both were unique, creamy, delicious, and clearly house-made. I would go back for the ice cream alone. Other notable flavors available on the day of our visit were: lavender vanilla, hibiscus passion-fruit sorbet, oatmeal cookie dough, and Elvis (peanut butter, bacon and banana). Four ounce scoops were priced at $3.67 while 16 ounces would run you $6.87.
While we didn't note any children in the dining room when we went, the friendly folks at Hub do offer a kids menu. Options weren't remarkable, but included: burgers, pasta and a PB&J ($3-$6, not including drink).
Service, food and ambiance at Hub make this place a great choice for lunch or dinner. Just be sure to leave your calorie counter at home.