Hungry Fox Restaurant

The space is limited, but the demand is high at Hungry Fox.

Hidden between a commercial printer store and a bank on East Broadway, Hungry Fox Restaurant still shines as a Tucson treasure six decades after it opened.

As Hungry Fox — where Tucson legend Sam Fox cut his teeth before launching his successful restaurant empire — celebrates its milestone anniversary, its owners are planning to open a second location by year’s end.

“We are currently looking for a new location,” said Billy Rahn, who has owned the restaurant with his wife, Cassie, since 2023. “We will try to recreate this atmosphere, this family-oriented type restaurant. That is our goal by the end of the year.”

A second location might make it easier to find a seat at the original spot at 4637 E. Broadway. With only word-of-mouth as advertising, the diner, which serves breakfast and lunch, has a constant flow of regulars enjoying coffee, homemade cinnamon rolls and Sonoran eggs Benedict. Some regulars come twice a day.

Aaron and Toni Fox, Tucson native Sam Fox’s parents, opened The Hungry Fox in 1964.

Toni and Aaron Fox celebrating a birthday at the Hungry Fox restaurant with a giant fox cheesecake.

“Very fine memories, I love to see that it is still open,” said Fox, who spent part of his childhood helping at the restaurant alongside his parents. “It definitely felt like home. We had our birthdays there, our dinners and brunches … It was like one giant family.”

It was inside that building, its walls decorated with hand-painted porcelain plates that have stood the test of time, that Fox grew to love the restaurant industry and the hard work it entailed.

“My work ethic was rooted in seeing how my parents lived their lives and how hard they worked,” said Fox, whose Fox Restaurant Concepts includes the classic American-style Culinary Dropout, the pizza and rotisserie chicken concept Doughbird and the healthy-leaning Flower Child. “Just by being around my parents and hard work all the time, it was something which just became who I am.”

Restaurant developer Sam Fox, owner of Flower Child, speaks to an employee.

The Rahns have tried to maintain the warm atmosphere that Sam Fox remembers.

“It’s kind of like an extended family that we are trying to build here,” Billy Rahn said. “All of my team loves to sit and talk with the guests, and we want them to feel at home and have those conversations.”

Rahn said the couple, out of respect for the restaurant’s history, didn’t make any changes in the dining area.

“To the customers eyesight, the only change we made is that we reprinted the menus, but we didn’t take anything off of it. Everything is still on,” he said.

The menu includes Sam Fox’s childhood favorite: the egg yolk omelet, and the Fox or the Cowboy omelets, as well as the fan-favorite Sonoran eggs Benedict, which comes with chorizo and a chipotle Hollandaise-topped English muffin.

As Hungry Fox Restaurant celebrates 60 years, the owners are on the hunt for a second Tucson location. 

The Hungry Fox also serves pancakes, stuffed breakfast burritos, biscuits with thick gravy and other treats, starting at 6 a.m. on weekdays, 6:30 a.m. on weekends. The restaurant closes at 2 p.m. daily.

Dennis Lumley has been a Hungry Fox regular for the past five years.

“We have been here two or three times a week,” said Lumley, who comes with his wife, Barbara. “Sometimes I wish they had dinners, as well, but I’m glad they don’t, because then I would be huge.”

On a recent Monday morning, despite the rush, a waitress shared a warm hug with the Lumleys before taking their order at their table framed by hand-sewed curtains.

‘‘The nice thing is, we are regulars, but you can’t tell the way they treat somebody as if they are a regular or not. It is like a family,” Lumley reflected.

Rahn said he and his wife hope to bring that same sense to a second location, which also will help them keep up with the demand for the restaurant.

“Every weekend, we have a 40-minute wait. It is because we are the size that we are and we cannot make it any bigger. The need is there, the want is there, that’s why we want to do it,” he said.

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Arizona Sonoran News is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.