Here are the chosen ones (and what set them apart).
The non-profit Tucson City of Gastronomy organization, which manages the UNESCO City of Gastronomy designation for metro Tucson and Southern Arizona, announced its list of certified 2020 Tucson City of Gastronomy Restaurants.
The certified restaurants increased their chance of certification through the following:
- Supporting the local food economy by sourcing many ingredients from local farmers and artisans; three-fourths serve traditional dishes from our region or use heritage ingredients in creative new dishes
- Doing more for their employees than the minimum required, paying most or all their staffs above minimum wage
- Offering health insurance and matches to retirement savings, and one even provides zero-interest college loans
- Implementing a variety of environmentally friendly practices, such as using compostable takeout containers, avoiding all uses of plastic and polystyrene, recycling food waste, going 100% solar power, and growing ingredients on site
- Donating to, or fundraising for, the food bank and other charities and non-profits in the community
“We were glad to see many restaurants apply this first year, and inspired by the exemplary practices of the majority,” said Jonathan Mabry, executive director of TCoG.
Out of 37 applications, 23 restaurants were chosen for certification:
2020 TCoG Certified Restaurants
- 5 Points Market & Kitchen
- Aqui Con el Nene
- Aravaipa Farms Inn
- Blue Willow
- BOCA Tacos y Tequila
- The Carriage House
- The Cup Cafe
- DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails
- El Guero Canelo
- Exo Roast Co.
- The Grill at Hacienda Del Sol
- Mama Louisa’s
- Maynard’s Kitchen
- PY Steakhouse
- Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria
- Rollies Mexican Patio
- Seis Kitchen
- Tacos Apson
- Taqueria Pico de Gallo
- Tito & Pep
- Tohono Chul Garden Bistro
The TCoG website also lists the restaurants with their qualification for each category.
“We will use these certifications to shine a spotlight on homegrown businesses leading the way in our restaurant industry and keeping our food heritage alive, and we believe visitors and locals will vote with their wallets to support them,” Mabry said.
Visit Tucson and the Pima County Visitors’ Center will both promote certified restaurants to visitors, while TCoG will market them to locals.
Furthermore, TCoG hired a native Spanish-speaker to translate the application and conduct outreach to southside restaurants, thanks to a community engagement grant from the University of Arizona College of Social & Behavioral Sciences.
“We’re proud of this first cohort of certified restaurants,” said Janos Wilder, president of TCoG. “They are all proponents of practices that helped Tucson receive our UNESCO designation. Their participation in this program allows them to be recognized for their efforts.”
TCoG will begin taking applications in September for a 2021 certification.
For more information, visit tucson.cityofgastronomy.org.