With Rincon Market's ownership change last year, bits and pieces have been blossoming. The bakery now features fantastic tahini chocolate chip cookies, exceptional masala and lemon herb rotisserie chickens are available for sale, and the produce selection looks better than it has in years.
Last but not least, the salad bar is gone. While its disappearance is a pain point for some regulars, cheese lovers can rejoice; the space has been replaced with what may quickly become the best cheese selection in town.
"I don't want to be exclusive or too expensive, but I will bring in some of the best stuff in the world," said Duffy Calhoun, cheese man at Rincon Market.
Local cheese snobs should recognize the name; Calhoun developed a loyal following leading the cheese program at Whole Foods Market on River Road before starting his position at Rincon Market.
"Having worked at River for six years, I have a good idea of what Tucson wants and what Tucson's needing," Calhoun said.
Calhoun has been in the food industry since he was 17 but started his cheese career around 2000 when he worked in Metropolitan Market in Seattle.
"We are so excited to have Duffy on board," said Eddie Dick, grocery manager at Rincon Market. "It is rare to find someone with his combination of knowledge and experience, attention to detail, and great personality. He just started on the first of the month and we can already sense the amazing impact that he is going to have on Rincon Market."
Cheese options range from local to domestic small batch to European. The case also includes a variety of crackers, charcuterie, and other accoutrements and specialty items such as Marcona almonds.
Whether you're buying a casual Cabot white cheddar or hard-to-find Maytag Blue, Calhoun will happily answer any questions. If your choice isn't on the shelves, let him know; he'll see what he can do to get his hands on it.
"I'm going to start with cheeses I know people want and then let the neighborhood tell me what they want," Calhoun said.
Having only received two shipments of cheese so far, the cheese selection isn't complete yet. While the shelves have some empty spots waiting to be filled, it's already easily one of the most impressive selections in town.
Additionally, prices are fair. Some cheeses will fetch standard market prices, while some cheeses at Rincon cost $7 a pound when they easily fetch over $20 a pound in other stores.
If you want to indulge by yourself, don't overlook the bin with a mixed variety of small wedges; many of the gourmet options in the bin are only a few bucks.
"I would like to mention that a great time for people in the community to meet Duffy would be on February 21, from 4 - 7 p.m., where we will host a wine, cheese, and chocolate tasting," Dick said. "The event is free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome to stop by and sample the amazing collection of products we are gathering at Rincon Market."
Rincon Market is located at 2513 E. Sixth St. For more information, visit rinconmarket.xyz.
Jackie Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran's Fats. Although he is best known locally for his work for Tucson Foodie, his work has also appeared in publications such as Bon...