Tucson’s culinary scene continued to expand in 2015 with over 15 new restaurants and bars. The recent UNESCO designation of Tucson as a World City of Gastronomy only adds to the excitement many of us Tucsonans have been experiencing for the last couple of years. Below are some of the highlights of who we welcomed in 2015.
Brother John’s Beer, Bourbon, BBQ
1801 N Stone Ave.
Located in the former Wildcat House BroJo’s offers slow smoked meats, southern sides, salads and desserts along with signature, fresh bourbon, rye and whiskey cocktails. Grand opening is New Years Eve.
For more information, visit Brother Johns BBQ.
Casa Film Bar
2905 East Speedway
Everybody’s favorite indie video rental store knew it had to keep things fresh. To stay current, they converted almost half of the downstairs into a craft beer bar. It’s a great combo, really, with movies playing, a killer beer selection, and a convenient midtown location.
More info at casafilmbar.com.
Commoner & Co.
6960 E Sunrise Dr.
Opened during the summer, this northeast eatery serves modern comfort, new American cuisine along with a selection of beers on tap and a long list of craft cocktails.
For more information, visit Commoner & Co.
Ermano’s Craft Beer & Wine Bar
220 N Fourth Ave.
A new addition to Fourth Avenue, Ermano’s offers a curated selection of craft beer and wine to accompany their lunch, dinner and late night menu offerings. In addition to using locally sourced ingredients for their dishes they also support the local art scene.
For more information, visit Ermano’s Brew.
Harvest On River
5605 E River Rd.
The Oro Valley locally owned restaurant opened its second location on River Road this year in the former Skybox Restaurant and Sports Bar. Offering daily lunch and dinners along with Sunday brunch featuring items from local purveyors of fresh produce.
For more information, visit Harvest on River.
14 S Arizona Ave.
This upscale bar offers classic craft cocktails, modern infusions and light appetizers. Located in an alley, HighWire is neighbors with downtown Tucson’s grocery store, Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market, and the Independent Distillery.
For more information, visit HighWire Lounge.
Hub Ice Cream Factory
245 E Congress St.
Originally housed in Hub Restaurant & Ice Creamery, the demand for the sweet treat was so high that they expanded and built the Ice Cream Factory across the street. The vast array of signature, seasonal and rotating flavors – and house made choco tacos – will bring out the kid in you.
For more information, visit Hub Ice Cream.
2905 East Skyline Dr
This Phoenix-based pizza and wine bar opened its first Tucson location in November. In addition to signature pizzas you can also order up sandwiches and salads while ordering drinks from a full bar.
For more information, visit Humble Pie.
876 E University Blvd.
Opening up it’s first location outside of Colorado, Illegal Pete’s received a raucous welcoming from a group of protesters complaining about the name. Located just outside Main Gate, Illegal Pete’s serves fresh Mexican food in a relaxed atmosphere while supporting local musicians and offering their employees a 2015 Living Wage Incentive.
For more information, visit Illegal Pete’s.
Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market
11 South Sixth Avenue
The first grocery market to open downtown in a long time, this market also features a variety of order at the counter items all day long for lunch, dinner, or a snack. A full espresso and craft beer bar is also available. Johnny Gibson’s is also part of the shared courtyard with HighWire Lounge and the Independent Distillery.
More info at gibsonsmarket.com.
1 E Congress St.
Open daily for breakfast and lunch, Nook offers a twist on their specialties. Take the Godfather Benedict, that substitutes prosciutto and arugala for the traditional Canadian bacon. Gluten-free and vegan items are also available.
For more information, visit Nook.
Obon Sushi + Bar + Ramen
350 E Congress St.
Named in honor of the Japanese festival that is a time to come together and celebrate life and family Obon is creating a modern Japanese dining experience here in Tucson. Their vast selection of sake’s will pair nicely with their ramen, sushi, small plates and entree choices.
For more information, visit Obon Sushi.
Red’s Smokehouse + Tap Room
943 E University Blvd.
With opening its doors this week, Red’s is the newest arrival on the scene. This craft beer and barbeue joint is the newest venture for owner Ramiro Scavo who’s first restaurant, Pasco Kitchen & Lounge, is just down the street. Diners have their choice of Pork Ribs, Chicken, Brisket, Pulled Pork, and Grilled Hot Wings with the usual sides of vinegar slaw, creamy coleslaw, potato salad, corn bread, corn on the cob, baked beans, and macaroni salad. Check out our recent write up here.
For more information, visit Reds Smokehouse on Facebook.
The Independent Distillery
30 S Arizona Ave.
Their doors opened three months ago with the goal of spearheading the small-scale distillery business in Tucson. Once federal approval is granted for their on-site distilling they will be making handcrafted spirits: gins, rums, vodkas, whiskeys, bourbons, absinthe, and bitters using the highest quality products.
For more information, visit The Independent Distillery.
The Living Room Wine Cafe & Lounge
2905 E. Skyline Dr.
This is the first Tucson location for owner Tom Kaufman whose other locations are in the Phoenix area. The wine concept’s mantra of live, laugh, lounge can be obtained while sipping on one of their 35 wines and sangrias by the glass Menu offerings include light appetizers, bruschetta, and flatbread pizza.
For more information, visit The Living Room.
Za’atar Mediterranean Restaurant & Bakery
2825 N Country Club Rd.
Opening in March this little gem of a place expanded Tucson’s choices for Mediterranean food. Their house made breads are baked fresh to order and diners can watch the crew prepare their gyro, kabob, falafel or other items be created. Other offerings include the traditional and minty Tzaziki, baba ganoush, hummus, and a daily dessert.
For more information, visit Za’atar on Facebook.