Tucson's cuisine scene is GROWING. New restaurants, markets, breweries, and bars are popping up all over town - especially in the burgeoning downtown and mercado districts.
Next time you head out for a meal with your family, friends, colleagues, or blind date - consider supporting one of the "new guys" in town.
Following you will find a list of restaurants that opened in 2014 and/or are slated to open in the coming months.
Located in the heart of downtown at 6th Avenue and Stone, 5 Points Restaurant has been open for breakfast and lunch since January 2014. Everything is made in-house and from-scratch. Popular dishes include huevos rancheros and smoked salmon benedict. We hear the soups are delicious too! 5 Points also has a dog-friendly patio so that you can bring your four-legged friend w/ you.
Spearheaded by Executive Chef Ryan Clark (3-time Iron Chef champion!), Agustin Kitchen opened in January 2014 in Mercado San Agustin. The urban and upscale restaurant is open every day except Monday for brunch, lunch, happy hour, and dinner. The menu is full of organic, vegetarian, and farm-fresh items - made in-house and with local ingredients.
Blu is another Mercado San Agustin newcomer. The wine + cheese shop opened its doors in January 2014. Worried about antibiotics, hormones, and scary chemicals in your dairy products? You don't have to be at Blu! Stop in and let the cheesemonger guide you in choosing from dozens of specialty cheeses. You'll also be able to learn about the milk, the method, and the cheese makers. The menu includes seasonal salads, sandwiches, cheese plates, craft beer, and wine.
This 4th Avenue new kid on the block "specializes in old world rustic cuisine made from fresh and well-considered ingredients." Most everything is made in-house, including the pickles and baked goods. Indoor + outdoor seating is available - with plenty of opportunities for people-watching. Every Tuesday is BIKE NITE - ride your bike to receive happy hour pricing all night. Opened in April 2014.
L & J opened in the heart of downtown on the bottom floor of the Pioneer building in February 2014. The menu is simple - breakfast burritos in the morning and hot dogs/burgers with fries in the afternoon. Most popular burgers include Mushroom Swiss Burger, Cuban Burger, and Bacon Cheese Burger.
This is the 2nd location for Miss Saigon - a Vietnamese restaurant that serves traditional dishes for lunch & dinner. The first location is at Speedway and Campbell (near the University of Arizona). Chopsticks are optional.
Originally founded in 1977 in Chicago, Potbelly Sandwich Shop now has 300 locations in 18 states. Tucson's first location opened in May 2014 at Broadway and Craycroft. Two other locations are slated to open later this year - one on Oracle Road; the other in the U of A area. The menu includes sandwiches, soups, salads, smoothies, and baked goods.
Mercado San Agustin is on fire! Seis Kitchen is the newest dining arrival on the scene. The fast casual restaurant, which features regional Mexican cuisine in an upscale environment, opened in March 2014. At Seis, you can "experience the sights, sounds, and smells of Mexico's beloved street food at its finest - warm handmade tortillas, hot off the griddle quesadillas, fire-roasted salsas, and artisan tortas." Diners order at the counter and get table service when their food is ready.
"Better burger" joints are booming in Tucson - and Smashburger is one of the newest additions! Serving up their signature smashed burgers, chicken sandwiches, tasty fries, and Haagan-Dazs shakes - Smashburger has quickly become a popular spot. The 22nd & Kolb location opened in March 2014. The two previous locations are at Broadway & Alvernon and Crossroads Festival.
A brand new ice creamery opened this week at Broadway and Houghton, but it's not your run-of-the-mill chain operation. It's the first store in Tucson that will pasteurize its own ice cream. As an added bonus, the shop will use only organic ingredients - including milk from grass-fed cows, eggs, and sugar. Talk about raising the bar for the ice cream industry! With less than a week under their belt, they've already won an award for "Best Overall Ice Cream" at the Ice Cream Showdown in Downtown Tucson.
Arizona-based chain Fired Pie has begun construction on the ground floor of Cadence Student Living at 350 E. Congress Street. Next door neighbors include Gio Taco and World of Beer. Each guest is invited to create a customizable pizza made from scratch, using dozens of fresh toppings. Customized salads are also available. And you won't want to leave without trying the oversized Pookie chocolate chip cookie with ice cream. This will be the 1st location in Tucson and the 5th location in Arizona. Tentatively scheduled to open in late September!
Downtown Tucson is finally getting a grocery store of its own! Johnny Gibson's Downtown Market is the brainchild of the owners of Rincon Market - and will be infused with some of the same concepts: a cafe, fresh fish, fresh produce, and gourmet groceries. The 6,000 square foot market will make its home at 11 South Sixth Avenue. Tentatively slated to open on December 1, 2014!
Google describes Pizzeria Bianco as a "cozy, brick-walled restaurant serving wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas & Italian small plates." Chef Chris Bianco has won numerous awards and is thrilled to be bringing his business down south (he currently operates two other locations in Phoenix). Opening July 25 on 5th and Congress!
Tucson already has one Planet Smoothie - up north at 7315 North Oracle Road. A second location is sated to open its doors downtown at 345 E. Congress Street around the second week of August. The franchise-based shop prides itself on offering "the best smoothie on the planet" - with a variety of flavors with creative names. Try Berry Bada-Bing (peaches, raspberries, bananas, frozen yogurt) or Crazy Bee (mangos, strawberries, honey, multivitamin blast).
Proper Tucson is currently a 3,000 square foot restaurant on 5th and Congress that serves brunch and dinner, seven days a week. The owners are now slated to open "the first butcher shop in the state to exclusively offer farm-raised meats from Arizona." Beyond the butchery goods, the meatery will also offer local cheeses, breads, house-made soups, sandwiches and light entrees. Local craft beers and Arizona wines will also be available by the glass or bottle.
Which of these new restaurants have YOU been to?