Barrio Cuisine: A Native American Bistro

As the culinary landscape of Downtown Tucson continues to grow and change, a new restaurant has opened its doors that promises to shake things up. Barrio Cuisine is a Native American bistro that combines the flavors and traditions of both the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and the Tohono O’odham Nation.

At 188 E. Broadway Boulevard, Barrio Cuisine offers a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere to enjoy lunch, happy hour or dinner. With floor to ceiling windows lining the perimeter, and an open floor plan, the atmosphere adapts well to the beautiful Tucson weather. Seating is available in the main dining area, at the bar, or at a community table that gathers around an open fire pit.

Starting with a refreshing cocktail menu, the Pineapple Serrano Cilantro Cocktail (sweet spice, tequila, fresh lime, pineapple, and Serrano pepper with Agave, and soda water, $8) and the Pulpa Margarita (tequila, bartender’s handmade sour, dash of orange, and sweetened with Tamarindo brown sugar simple syrup, $9) are both carefully crafted with layers of fresh flavors and quality spirits.

Totoi Dough God (Photo Credit: Barrio Cuisine)

Totoi Dough God (Photo Credit: Barrio Cuisine)

The Tapas menu, packed with options, is equally creative with items such as Tepary Hummus ($7) served with fresh fry bread, and Choriqueso ($9), a dish of rich cheese, spicy chorizo, and topped with green onions and corn tortilla chips to scoop it all up with. Other standouts include Cholla Pico made with Cholla buds, and Chilean crab meat tostada, Tostadas de Jaiba ($8).

The lunch menu, served from 11am to 5pm, includes highlights Red Chile Con Carne Dough God (Red chili with meat served with fry bread and kalabcitas on the side, $9), a Kalabacita Wrap filled with squash, zucchini, green chili, tomato, corn, and fresh white cheese for $9, and the Yaqui Burger served on fresh made Yaqui Yeast roll with fresh white cheese and roasted Anaheim aioli for $11.

From 5pm on, dinner is served. Many restaurants allow for the most creative of concoctions to shine on the dinner menu and Barrio Cuisine is no exception All entrees are served with a choice of house salad or a soup of the day. For your main dish, try one of the two rib options. The Prickly Pear Glazed Beef Spare Rib ($24) comes beautifully prepared and tastes even better than it looks with a well-balanced sweet and savory glaze while the Braised Agave Pork Baby Back Ribs ($21) fall off the bone and are complemented well with a side of kalabacitas and rice or beans.

Old Tucson Tacos (Photo Credit: Barrio Cuisine)

Old Tucson Tacos (Photo Credit: Barrio Cuisine)

If you can manage to save room for dessert, three options await. Even though fry bread may have made a few appearances throughout your meal already, the Sweet Dough Gods ($5) gives a final taste of the signature delight, topped with powdered sugar, honey, whipped cream and ‘drunken’ strawberries.

With Italian food available at Cafe Milano, Vietnamese at Miss Saigon, and Mexico City cuisine at Penca, Barrio Cuisine is another shining example of the variety Downtown Tucson is quickly growing to offer. By not only celebrating who we are today, but honoring the traditions of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and the Tohono O’odham Nation, Barrio Cuisine is a welcome addition to Tucson’s revitalized downtown.

Barrio Cuisine is located at 188 E. Broadway Blvd. For more information, visit them on the web at and on Facebook.

Jennifer Rothschild is an aspiring freelance food writer by night.