Toss Fried Chicken & Ramen quietly opened its doors on Saturday. The space at 1655 S. Alvernon Way previously housed Fried Rice Hut, which closed after only a few months in business.
"We don't see a lot of not-so-fast food around this area," said Cooky Lin, owner of Toss and co-owner of midtown restaurant Izumi. "We think it's good to open a ramen place here. We think ramen and chicken is a really good combination."
As the restaurant name suggests, Toss specializes in fried chicken and ramen. The chicken comes in four forms: Toss fried, wings, Southern crispy, and sandwich.
The Toss fried chicken is similar to sauced popcorn chicken; available sauces include salt and pepper, tangy teriyaki, orange chicken, honey Sriracha, garlic Parmesan, and Buffalo. Prices start at $6 for a small order.
Ramen comes in the standards ranging from vegan to the rich and porky tonkotsu. Prices range from $11.50 to $12.50.
The Chicken Sandwich ($5.25 and what was eaten on this visit) features a crunchy chicken breast with pickles and mayonnaise on a buttered bun.
While Tucson has several other fried chicken sandwiches available, this one is definitely closest in style and price to the recently buzzing Popeyes chicken sandwich. Is there a clear winner between the two?
The Popeyes version is slightly juicier and has better pickles, but the Toss version is crunchier and more thoroughly seasoned (the spicy version, at least). The Popeyes version was phenomenal when it was made to order before it sold out everywhere, but once it returned from its hiatus, they were sitting in wrappers under heat lamps and no longer irresistibly fresh. The Toss version is made to order, which makes all the difference for fried foods. Add in the local factor, and Toss wins.
Operating hours are 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. daily. The menu isn't finalized yet, so stay tuned for additional updates.
Toss Fried Chicken & Ramen is located at 1655 S. Alvernon Way. For more information, call (520) 367-4183.
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...