Kade Mislinski and Joey Medina of Classic Spaghetti Western Steakhouse are finishing up touches for their newest concept, Besties Fish & Burger.
The restaurant occupying the 1,600-square-foot former Mother Hubbard's Cafe space at 14 W. Grant Rd. is scheduled to open at 11 a.m., Saturday, April 7. A soft opening where guests can sample several dishes is open to the public from 11:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 6.
Mislinski aims to highlight the best of seafood chain Long John Silver's and hamburger chain White Castle in a fun environment for friends and family.
The interior is bright with cyan and baby blue walls. One side of the room features lime green booths, while the other features vertical striped booths. Customers order from a walk-up cashier and seat themselves, fast-casual style, and can take a selfie, boomerang, or giphy at the free photobooth which emails customers copies of the photos. Emojis adorn the menu next to the prices.
Besties aims to keep prices affordable, ranging from $1.75 - $8.75 at the moment.
While Besties has a White Castle vibe, the burgers are based on the Connecticut steamed cheeseburger. Rather than a conventional griddle or grill, the patties are steamed. While this results in no char or crust, it allegedly leads to a juicier burger.
Besties invited Tucson Foodie to a soft opening — here are the highlights.
The flagship BFF combo features a steamed cheeseburger, fried cod, hushpuppies, and fries.
Since Long John Silver's no longer has any locations in Tucson, Besties fills the niche with its nearly identical-tasting hushpuppies — crispy and slightly sweet. The cod and fries were standard and solid, both crispy and neither overcooked. Tartar sauce, malt vinegar, and an intensely horseradishy cocktail sauce were all offered.
The steamed cheeseburger was cooked thoroughly without a trace of pink, though it was still tender and juicy. The salt and seasoning were spot-on to provide sufficient beef flavor.
Piled high and gratuitously cheesy with a zippy horseradish sauce. Essentially a more generously-portioned of Arby's roast beef sandwich with a fresher zing.
Nothing fancy, just popcorn chicken and fried triangles of macaroni and cheese. This one's catered more for the children.
Planned menu additions include a turkey burger, ground chicken sandwich, chicken club sandwich, and a burger inspired by McDonald's parody McDowell's in the 1988 film Coming to America.
Execution through the menu is solid, but nostalgia is the main plus.
Besties Fish & Burger is located at 14 W. Grant Rd. Operating hours are 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. Tuesday - Sunday. For more information, call (520) 307-8506 or keep up with Besties Fish & Burger on Facebook.
Jackie Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran's Fats. Although he...