Local residents and commuters that frequent downtown Tucson have seen their dining options explode over the last few years. The rush doesn’t seem to be slowing, with the recent opening of High Wire cocktail lounge, Obon Sushi + Ramen and Independent Distillery on their way, and now Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market on South Sixth Avenue.
The first market to open downtown in nearly fifty years, Johnny Gibson’s is certainly a sign of the downtown area’s ongoing renaissance, as apartment buildings grow taller, hotels break ground and homes continue to pop up within walking distance. A grocery store is the next logical step, as families and young professionals race to fill each housing development that opens up.
Johnny Gibson’s is owned by Paul Cisek and Ron Abbott, the experienced retailers behind Sam Hughes’ Rincon Market. The lofty, high-beamed space, located across the street from the historic Chicago Music Store, is crowded with wire shelves, all stacked high with dry foods and home goods. The edges of the store are filled with fresh produce, a seafood and meat counter, a large, open deli, cases of baked goods, and a beer cooler.
“Bringing fresh produce to downtown, especially at competitive prices, is very exciting,” said store manager J.J. Putz. “We’re focusing on keeping the store stocked and providing an affordable spot to buy groceries.”
Upon first glance, it can be easy to miss the locally-sourced products amongst the inventory, but a number of Arizona-based companies are present. You’ll find sweet treats from Sunrise Baking Co. in the bakery, coffee from Arbuckle Coffee Co. on the shelves, and tamales from Tucson Tamale Co. in the freezers, among other local brands throughout the market.
Beyond the standard grocery items, Johnny Gibson’s will also serve as a new weekday spot for the many employees and workers that frequent downtown. A breakfast bar filled with yogurt, granola and fruit, as well as various egg sandwiches, are available for early-risers, while the deli, soup station and salad bar are sure to be crowded come lunchtime. For those looking for a quick happy hour, beer and wine can be enjoyed on a covered back patio.
Rising over the deli are larger than life portraits of Johnny Gibson himself. Gibson was a weightlifter, a World War II hero, designer of fitness equipment, and, most famously among locals, a barber. For almost sixty years, Gibson owned a barbershop on Sixth Avenue, and many still remember having their hair cut in Gibson’s chair.
One feature that will distinguish Johnny Gibson’s is a bike delivery system. Though the service hasn’t launched yet, the market will offer lunch delivery, grocery delivery, a courier service and restaurant bulk delivery.
Johnny Gibson’s is in the midst of their “soft opening” week, with permanent business hours set at 7am to midnight, seven days a week.
For more information, visit gibsonsmarket.com.