Tucson is back in business! As the weather cools down and the streets fill up with students once again, the restaurant season is just starting to heat up. This month's selection of new Tucson restaurants is as diverse as ever. But most of the places on this list are actually familiar faces that are either going for an upgrade or a second location.
Ten55 Brewery swung open the doors of its downtown sausage hall this month, serving unique meats like bison, venison and more. Over by the Tucson Mall we've got a couple new restaurants, including a brick and mortar for Fat Noodle (the ramen burger truck of course). Years Asian Bistro is also across the way, adding to Tucson's upward swing of eclectic Chinese restaurants.
But I'm really excited for what's coming next: The District Tavern is opening up a restaurant? Scroll down to the "On the Horizon" section at the bottom for more newsy tidbits like that. And don't forget to check back for more info!
Taqueria Los Chipilones
Los Chipilones is a southside taco stand that was built on the former site of a Viking Car Wash. (Check out the car-themed street art behind the building.) It's owned by the same people as the Chipilones Sonoran hot dog stand next door, but this joint specializes in beef birria, which you can get in a taco, stuffed into a cheesy caramelo or as a soup. The menu here is rather simple, but they do make their own horchata, and the corn tortillas don't seem to come from a machine either.
Hours: Wednesday-Monday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; closed Tuesday
811 E. Wetmore Road, 520-269-7603
After four years serving Tucson as a truck, this ramen operation is going brick and mortar. Fat Noodle's new space on First and Wetmore was designed by restaurant consultant John Foster, and features an industrial look with lush wooden counters and tables. In addition to the ramen selections, Fat Noodle goes hard on the fusion with ramen burgers, sashimi sandwiches and even poke bowls. Read more
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
Hermosa Coffee Roasters
267 South Avenida del Convento, building #9, 520-838-0750
This local coffee roaster now has a storefront at the shipping container shopping center MSA Annex, where it sells its beans as well as an interesting selection of espresso drinks. I got down on some cold brew — you may recognize the flavor from one of Hermosa's wholesale clients The Cup Cafe — but next time I'm going back for a Shakerato with espresso and simple syrup that's shaken like a cocktail. Hermosa is more of a stand than a place to hang out, but you can grab some joe before you head over to the Why I Love Where I Live store.
Hours: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily
The Hidden Grill
4955 N. Sabino Canyon Road #113, 520-308-4172
The Hidden Grill prepares grab-and-go meals that are geared toward paleo diets, heavy on the meat and vegetables. The menu changes every week, but a recent selection included dishes like grilled chicken in a coconut buffalo sauce, blackened whitefish with honey-cured bacon, boneless pork chop with vegetables and more. You can also sign up for meal plans where they give you two meals a day for three or five days in a row, lowering the cost to about $10 per meal.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 2:30 to 9 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday
5526 E. Grant Road, 520-347-5852
You may have bonded with La Botana's giant micheladas and fun toritos chile tacos. Well now you can hit them up on Grant and Craycroft as well. The Mexican bar and restaurant recently opened a second location in that Ross shopping center. (You know the one with like nothing in it.) Expect the same fun atmosphere as the First and Fort Lowell location.
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, noon to 8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Ten55 Brewing and Sausage House
110 E. Congress St., 520-777-7877
Now you can drink Ten55 beers and hang out in a German sausage hall downtown. The local brewery has moved its operations to Congress Street, and now serves about 20 types of sausages provided by Forbes Meat Company. Try the spicy bison sausage with white barbecue sauce on a bun from Viro's Italian Bakery. You can also buy the sausages to-go and cook them at home. Read more.
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Sunday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Years Asian Bistro and BBQ
625 E. Wetmore Road, 520-347-3766
The menu at this new Asian fusion spot is all over the place, with obscure dishes like a tray of grilled fish with lotus roots and chile sauce. We recently enjoyed a large meal with dishes from Japan and the Sichuan area of China, washing it down with a soju cocktail that was literally poured into a watermelon. While a big portion of the menu is dedicated to Japanese yakitori skewers, I enjoyed the Sichuan dishes best like the toothpick lamb that sits on a bed of dried chiles and garlic.
Hours: Sunday-Monday and Wednesday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 10:30 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 11 p.m.; closed Tuesday
On the horizon
— Fans of the District Tavern will be pleased to know that the former downtown bar finally announced its reopening date on Facebook. District Tavern Eats will hold its grand opening in the former Classic Spaghetti Western Steakhouse Sept. 15.
— The creative pizza spot Serial Grillers will open its third location at 7585 S. Houghton Road on Sept. 21. It will follow that up with a fourth location in Marana, off Interstate 10 and Cortaro Farms Road.
— Caps and Corks announced its plans to open Sept. 22 on Instagram. You'll soon be able to visit the beer bar at 3830 W. River Road, suite 100 in Marana.
— The old Veg in a Box space at 75 E. Pennington St. will soon be home to Raptor Canyon Cafe. The owners are currently recipe testing, which you can see on their Facebook page.
— The Hawaiian restaurant Island Plate Lunch hopes to open its second location at the Safeway plaza on Prince and Campbell in the next month.
— with reporting from Cathalena E. Burch