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Everything you need to know about the new Tucson Foodie

May 25, 2023
a man wearing a hat
By Matt Sterner, Shane Reiser
By Tucson Foodie

The Tucson Foodie team is excited to reveal an important shift in our direction.

For more than a decade, we’ve made it our goal to be your trusted source for food, beverage, and restaurant news in the vibrant culinary city Tucson has grown to be. ​

Today, we are thrilled to announce that under new ownership, Tucson Foodie is turning a fresh page and re-inventing itself as a community.

New Team

First, let’s introduce the new team!

I’m Shane, the new owner and CEO. And you likely already know our talented Editor, Matt Sterner, and our equally talented Head of Social, Hannah Hernandez.

Joining us this year is an incredible group of humans that expand Tucson Foodie’s capabilities in exciting new ways:

  • Sam Jump – COO
  • Taylor Cooley – Events
  • Feng-Feng Yeh – Video
  • Dalton Voss – Video
  • Daniel Clarke – Growth
  • Addie Ibarra  – Community
  • Pilar Andrade – Support & Data

We also work closely with Kim Johnston (Social), Mark Whittaker (Staff Writer), Anna Smirnova (Design), and Taylor Noel (Photography).

This core team has a combined experience of over 100 years working in restaurants, food trucks, and bars, running events, and building communities.

And of course, we couldn’t do what we do without our incredible, ever-growing mix of freelance writers, photographers, videographers, and ambassadors, as well as our outstanding advisors and industry partners.

Started From the Bottom

Every member of the Tucson Foodie team — including me — started as a fan/follower/subscriber of Tucson Foodie. We all understand the critical role Tucson Foodie plays in our community and the local economy, and we are all individually “PUMPED” (as Matt would say) to usher Tucson Foodie into a new phase rooted in collaboration, partnership, and community.

A Shift to Community

The new Tucson Foodie team has another thing in common: we’re all believers in the power of community. 

That’s why we’re excited to announce that we’re turning Tucson Foodie into something much bigger than a news and media organization. We’re now a community — and you’re invited to join us!

As a community-driven and community-supported organization, our new mission is to:

  • Bring people together over a shared love of food
  • Encourage exploration and enhance the dining experiences of individuals within the Tucson community
  • Support locally-owned restaurants and artisans
  • Foster collaboration and partnership within the food and beverage industry
  • Help Tucson step into its growing reputation as a foodie travel destination

Here’s what we’re doing to deliver on this new mission:

No Paywall

In the spirit of community, we’ve taken down that irritating paywall.

That’s right. All of our content is now free. Enjoy.

For more information and to join the community, visit tucsonfoodie.com

Interactive Guides

I’m particularly excited today to announce the launch of a new feature on our website — Interactive Guides.

Our new Guides — curated by both Tucson Foodie team members and local experts — are always up-to-date and feature helpful interactive maps.

This summer we’ll be dropping dozens and dozens of highly-requested guides. Everything from The Best Fish Tacos in Tucson to very specific things like Restaurants That Can Accommodate Groups of 10+ or Tucson Bars with Dark Lighting. We’re taking suggestions for new Guides. If you’re an expert in something (any barbecue pitmasters out there?) and you’d like to be the author of a Tucson Foodie Guide, email me at shane@tucsonfoodie.com.

Video, Podcast, & More

We are expanding the breadth of our media offering in order to tell more diverse stories from our community. These ambitious efforts are highly experimental and entertaining so be on the lookout as we expand the vision of Tucson Foodie on these platforms:

  • Youtube – You may or may not have noticed our first attempt at jumping into the Youtube arena with our weekly news show called “This Week in Tucson Foodie”. We really loved it but we made the decision to break up the show in a more manageable way. Our Youtube will now house long-form content that will take a deep dive into the food stories of southern Arizona. Look forward to a cooking show, an insider look into events, chef profiles, cultural celebrations through food, and more. On Sunday, May 28 we will launch our first long-form narrative done in this style. 
  • Podcast – This Week in Tucson Foodie (TWITF) lives on in podcast form where we talk about current events and news for the week so that you can plan your events while driving in your car or wherever you listen to podcasts. The long-form podcast will also be available on Youtube and as a quicker 60 sec short/reel/TikTok weekly. 
  • TikTok- POV: sometimes we just want to have memes to laugh at. Follow us here for some fast foodie laughs and some of our behind-the-scenes clips.

I know I keep saying “We’re excited” but…

We’re excited to share that Tucson Foodie has been awarded a $237,000 grant from the Arizona Office of Tourism to produce a series of new festivals and events. 

Within 3-5 weeks, Tucson Foodie’s Director of Events, Taylor Cooley, will be releasing our 2023-2024 event lineup.

It will include dozens of unique experiences in partnership with local chefs and restaurants (think dinners, tours, tastings, and classes), multiple large events including new concepts like a birria competition, food truck rallies and night markets, the return of classics like Restaurant Week, The Tucson Craft Beer Crawl, and Art of Plating, and the introduction of a gigantic new festival concept which I’m personally passionate about, that focuses on one of Tucson’s strengths – wellness.

Membership Levels

A community is nothing without its members.

At the end of last year, we launched our first members-only club, The Foodie 500. Limited to just 500 members, this top-tier club is for all the super foodies out there who have a fondness for new dining experiences, being part of a community, and more. Check it out at 500.tucsonfoodie.com.

Today, we’re excited (!) to announce two new membership levels:

Tucson Foodie Insiders ($20/month) help guide the future of Foodie and enjoy these delicious benefits:

  • Join our private Facebook group
  • Vote on what Tucson Foodie should do next (events, initiatives, etc.)
  • Enjoy exclusive behind-the-scenes content
  • Early access to Tucson Foodie Presents ticket sales
  • 25% off all Tucson Foodie Festivals
  • Skip the line at all Tucson Foodie festivals (an idea from Foodie 500 member Sean Denlinger)
  • Two (2) free VIP upgrades at Tucson Foodie festivals

Supporters ($4/month) directly support our amazing writers, photographers, and videographers  (100% of your contribution goes straight to them) and help keep our content paywall and pop-up free. Supporters are also invited to join our private Facebook group where you can interact with the Tucson Foodie team, and other members, and enjoy exclusive behind-the-scenes content.

Whichever level you choose, remember this – you aren’t just joining the biggest and fast-growing community of food and beverage lovers in the southwest (and scoring all the amazing member benefits) — you’re also supporting our contributors, helping keep our content free and accessible to everyone, and helping us continue to support and celebrate locally-owned restaurants and artisans.

Join the Tucson Foodie community at tucsonfoodie.com/join.

Meet me on Reddit (r/Tucson) for an AMA (Ask Me Anything)

We need input from everyone to make sure we’re maximizing value and showing up with integrity in our community. 

So please join me in r/Tucson on Reddit for an AMA (Ask Me Anything) today, May 25. Matt, Hannah, and I will be answering all your questions starting at 10 a.m. Nothing is off the table, so by all means — ask away.

You’re also always welcome to DM us on Instagram or email me directly at shane@tucsonfoodie.com.


Shane Reiser

CEO, Tucson Foodie

Tucson Foodie is a locally owned and operated community. Thanks to our partners and members, we are able to offer paywall-free guides and articles. We value your support and invite you to become a Tucson Foodie Insider today.

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