10+ Restaurants & drinking spots that recently opened their doors in Tucson

June 30, 2021
By Matt Sterner

The changing of the season always brings something new to the city, and in the culinary pockets of Tucson, more than a handful of new restaurants have sprouted up.

On top of that, there have been a few thirst-quenching additions, whether that be a reopening of a business that had been closed for nearly a year or certain spots that have blossomed into more than one location.

So, in case you missed it, here are a few places that have opened within the past couple of months — specifically in May and June 2021. Also, it’s always nice to refresh the memory, much like the feeling you inherit when trying something new.

Bella’s Gelato Shoppe

2648 E. Speedway Blvd.
Bella's Gelato Shoppe
Photo courtesy of Bella’s Gelato Shoppe on Facebook

With the extreme heat cookin’ up the streets of Tucson, this grand opening couldn’t come at a better time. Bella’s Gelato Shoppe, which originally debuted as a food truck, is opening up its brick-and-mortar location at 2648 E. Speedway Blvd on Friday, July 2.

Although, if you want to head into the shop earlier, it’ll be open on weekends with limited hours from now until the grand opening celebration. ...read more. 

Dillinger Brewing Company

402 E. Ninth St.
Dillinger Brewing Company
Photo courtesy of Dillinger Brewing Company

The historic spot was originally built as a bakery called the Royal Bakery in the early part of the 1900s. The Coronado Hotel was built around it, and most recently housed The Coronet for five years.

“We’re going to have 12 of our beers on tap,” said Aaron Long, co-owner of Dillinger Brewing Company, “Plus,  ciders, wine, Kombucha, and cold brew. The new spot will work as a taproom with an expanded barrel-aging program in the basement.” …read more.

Flora’s Market Run

2513 E. Sixth St.
Flora's Market Run
Fried Chicken Sando (Photo by Adam Lehrman)

The new spot offers counter-service and table-service for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a menu that’s got the likes of sandwiches, salads, wood-fired pizza, chicken, and salmon.

We got to try a few of their dishes like the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sando — which comes with an apple and Brussel slaw, hot honey mustard, pickles, and a milk bun — along with a few other eye-catching culinary achievements. …read more.

Gallery of Food Bodega

2522 E. Ft. Lowell Rd.
Gallery of Food Bodega
Photo courtesy of Gallery of Food Bodega

With the permanent closure and rebranding of Café Botanica inside the Tucson Botanical Gardens, owner Kristine Jensen sought out new opportunities to bring her online grocery store and on-the-go meals to fruition.

The store has been open since October 2020, but they hosted a special Grand Opening Sunday, June 20, which was the day of the Summer Solstice — an ideal time for a new beginning. …read more.

Maria Bonita Mexican Kitchen

2708 E. Ft. Lowell Rd.
Maria Bonita Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Maria Bonita Restaurant on Facebook

The building that previously housed Cody’s Beef ‘n Beans for more than 30 years is ready for a new beginning.
The 2009 recession arrived and the restaurant, which opened 20 years ago over at 5851 N. Oracle Rd., closed its doors back in 2011. read more.


7850 N. Oracle Rd.
Dandan Noodles at Noodleholics (Credit: Jackie Tran)
Dandan Noodles at Noodleholics (Credit: Jackie Tran)

This is the restaurant’s second location in Tucson, with the first spot found on Grant Rd.

The menu features around 10 different noodle soups and a small plate menu that features around 10 different options. Wheat noodles are made in-house, sliced on the slightly thicker side to cling onto the broth. The Guilin rice noodles are on the thinner side, similar to vermicelli. …read more. 

Penca Restaurante

50 E. Broadway Blvd.
Cocktails at Penca Restaurante
Cocktails at Penca Restaurante (Credit: Jenalyn Lazana)

Back in 2013, owner Patricia Schwabe introduced the city to the restaurant’s unique flavors and ingredients of Mexico City. and now there’s a new menu to feast your eyes on.

So, what else is happening on the corner near Penca? Pearly Baker Fermentables is what’s happening. It’s one of Tucson’s newest wine shops and is located on the southwest corner of Scott and Broadway. Since its opening, it’s quickly become a destination for natural, classic, and honest wines from around the world. …read more. 

Pops Hot Chicken

600 N. Fourth Ave.
Pops Hot Chicken sandwiches at American Eat Co. (Credit: Jackie Tran)
Pops Hot Chicken sandwiches at American Eat Co. (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Pops Hot Chicken, which was originally a food truck, has finally set up shop in the spot that previously housed TallBoys at 600 N. Fourth Ave. Aside from the new menu items, the Nashville-style chicken joint has a full bar to accompany the spicy cuisine — a lovely way to douse the flames inside your mouth during the late-night hours of wandering around on Fourth Avenue.

With the addition of the Fourth Avenue location, the chicken sandwiches are still available at the southside food hall, American Eat Co. …read more.

Pueblo Vida Brewing Company

115 E. Broadway Blvd.
Pueblo Vida Brewing Company
Photo courtesy of Pueblo Vida Brewing Company on Facebook

It’s been a while — just over a year, actually, — that beer lovers of Tucson and from afar have gotten the opportunity to enjoy one of Pueblo Vida’s brews in the air-conditioned space. Now, the long-awaited reopening of Pueblo Vida Brewing Company’s downtown taproom has finally come to fruition.

As a side note, they’re still offering online ordering and curbside pickup. ...read more.

Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink

101 E. Pennington St.
Photo by Jackie Tran

It’s been more than a year since the aromatics have been able to creep out onto the corner of Pennington and Scott Ave., but the wait has finally come to an end.

The pizza spot officially opened its doors at the end of May and shortly after, the downstairs cocktail lounge, Tough Luck Club, started pouring drinks once again. ...read more.  

Tap & Bottle Downtown

403 N. Sixth Ave.
Tap & Bottle
Photo courtesy of Tap & Bottle on Facebook

After a little more than a year of not being able to drink in-house, Tap & Bottle has reopened its downtown taproom located at 403 N. Sixth Ave.

The shop, which also has a north location and a sister bar nestled over at the MSA Annex, is one of those craft drinking spots that really ties together the area. …read more.

Tuk Tuk Thai

12125 N. Oracle Rd., Suite 169
Spicy Crispy Chicken Basil at Tuk Tuk Thai
Photo courtesy of Khao San

The popular restaurant officially opened its second location in May, with is now a direct neighbor to Oro Valley’s Charred Pie.

For nearly 30 years, Bud Sayso has owned and operated two Khao San locations in Portland, Oregon, and now he’s been treating the same concept to Tucsonans since its opening on Campell Ave. …read more.

Zio Peppe

6502 E. Tanque Verde Rd.
Zio Peppe
Photo by Jackie Tran

Zio Peppe, which means “Uncle Joe” in Italian, is in part a tribute to Cable’s uncle, Joe Sottosanti, who opened Tucson’s first Sicilian pizza place, Tesseo’s Pizzeria, nearly 50 years ago.

What owners Mat Cable and Devon Sanner are particularly eager for guests to see is the open pizza kitchen in the dining room, equipped with a stone hearth oven that’s fueled by mesquite and gas. The pizza menu features classics like a Margherita with fresh, hand-pulled mozzarella, as well as the new school hit Figgy Stardust, with figs, honey and chamomile whipped goat cheese, mesquite-smoked bacon, and pomegranate gastrique.

“We’ve got pizzas that are unique; you could only get this in Tucson,” said Cable. ...read more. 

Voltron Brewing Taproom

330 S. Toole Ave. #200
Voltron Brewing Taproom
Photo courtesy of Borderlands Brewing Company on Instagram

Tucson’s first co-op brewing facility that’s shared between Borderlands Brewing Company and FireTruck Brewing Company had a short stint before the pandemic struck, but now the taproom is back open and ready to pour you a beer.

For more information, visit Voltron Brewing on Instagram

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