Hungry in Rita Ranch? Here are 9 Vail & Rita Ranch restaurants to try

There’s a lot to experience in this up-and-coming area — here's a list of some local favorites

There was a time in Vail when residents were ecstatic that a Dairy Queen opened near the local church and post office. Within the last ten years, however, Vail and the Rita Ranch area have expanded dramatically.

Where there was once miles of raw desert now stands a vibrant community, including new and exciting Vail and Rita Ranch restaurants like Serial Grillers, which was announced will open in Rita Ranch this fall. There’s a lot to experience in this up-and-coming area — here’s a list of some local favorites.


16251 S. Houghton Rd., Vail, AZ 85641

While closer to Corona de Tucson, Argenziano’s was the Italian restaurant all Vail citizens went to for birthdays and special occasions. They offer both pizzas both classic — like the margherita —and inventive — like the taco pizza. The menu also has Italian-American favorites, including meatballs and stuffed shells.

Keep up with Argenziano’s on Facebook.

Civano Coffee House

5278 S. Civano Blvd.

Tucked away in the Civano neighborhood, the Civano Coffee House is a hidden gem. Whether you’re stopping by for an espresso in the morning or a glass of wine in the evening, the cozy atmosphere invites you to stay and relax.

Or, take your coffee to go and walk around the beautiful Civano Nursery.

For more information, visit

Hacienda Del Lago

14155 E. Via Rancho del Lago, Vail, AZ 85641

It might be surprising to learn that there is a golf course and club in Vail, but soon you’ll be looking for reasons to go play a round or two. The Hacienda del Lago is both the club house and the restaurant. Sit on the patio and enjoy the Campfire, a comforting stack of hash browns, eggs, and gravy. Or stop by for a pint of beer as a celebration after hitting a hole in one — the bar is open until 9:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

For more information, visit

Hotrods Old Vail

10500 E. Old Vail Rd.
(Photo courtesy of Hotrods Old Vail)

(Photo courtesy of Hotrods Old Vail)

Part restaurant, part garage, Hotrods is a truly unique dining experience. Drop your car off for service and enjoy a plate of Carolina-style BBQ while you wait. Hotrods specializes in classic cars and classic diner food; stepping inside is like going back in time.

For more information, visit

Luckie’s Thai Asian Cuisine

8110 S. Houghton Rd. Ste 186

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Luckie’s is the quintessential takeout spot, perfect for stopping by after doing your grocery run. The menu includes Thai classics like papaya salad, pad thai, and larb, and also includes other favorites like Vietnamese pho and Chinese egg foo young. Whatever you’re in the mood for, Luckie’s will provide it both quickly and deliciously.

 For more information, visit

Montgomery’s Grill & Saloon

13190 E. Colossal Cave Rd., Ste 190, Vail, AZ 85641

A classic neighborhood bar, Montgomery’s offers staples like burgers, wings, and sandwiches, as well as a wide-ranging drink menu. The atmosphere is welcoming and family-friendly, a perfect place to stop for lunch on the way to local landmarks like Colossal Cave.

Find menus and more at

Papa Locos Tacos & Burgers

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Despite the name, Papa Locos is known for more than just their tacos and burgers—though those alone are worth a visit. The menu is full of creative dishes, like the breakfast enchiladas filled with eggs, or the Enchi-Locos Platter, featuring fresh corn masa filled with meat and fried. They also feature both Sonoran and LA-style hot dogs to satisfy your cravings.

Keep up with Papa Locos Tacos & Burgers on Facebook.

Rancho Rustico

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Ever had a molcajete? Rancho Rustico specializes in the traditional Mexican dish, where sizzling hot meat and vegetables are served inside a stone bowl. The menu also offers Tucson classics like chimichangas, and plenty of seafood to remind you of a trip to Rocky Point.

For more information, visit

Sa-Ing Thai Cuisine

9136 E Valencia Rd., Ste 100

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Named one of Tucson’s most underrated restaurants by Maynards Market & Kitchen executive chef Brian Smith, Sa-Ing features a vibrant menu of classic and craveable Thai dishes. Everything on the menu is sure to please, from curry to stir-fried noodles. Pair the spicy food with a creamy, smoky Thai tea, and you’ll be able to imagine you’re far away from the Tucson summer heat.

For more information, visit

Have any suggestions for additional Vail and Rita Ranch restaurants to try? Let us know below.

Samantha Colaianni has family roots in Tucson that go back before the Gadsden Purchase. When she's not cooking Mexican food, she's baking Mexican pastries.

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