Cafe Santa Rosa (Photo by Jacki Tran)

That’s a Wrap! The Impact of Sonoran Restaurant Week 2023

September 19, 2023
By Tucson Foodie

The scene was vibrant, the flavors were top-notch, and our taste buds were most definitely rocked (in a good way) throughout this year’s Sonoran Restaurant Week.

This year’s 10-day event was produced by Tucson Foodie and sponsored by Visit Tucson, Rio Nuevo, The Tucson Metro Chamber, Commerce Bank of AZ, The Downtown Clifton, Tucson Weekly, and The Tucson City of Gastronomy. Nearly 100 local restaurants participated, which enjoyed bigger crowds of both locals and visitors seeking that special, limited-time menu.

(Photo courtesy of Amelia’s Mexican Kitchen)

With another eating extravaganza and a showcase of Sonoran-inspired dishes, Tucson Foodie, as a collective, is excited about the future of the culinary scene and already looking forward to 2024.

“It will take us a couple of weeks to create the impact report, but all signs point to this year’s Week generating as much or more of an economic impact than last year, which drove over $3 million in additional revenue to local restaurants at a time when business is often slow,” said Shane Reiser, CEO of Tucson Foodie. “Now we’re thinking about creating more “weeks,” like Drink Week, Food Truck Week, Vegan Week, and Artisan Week.”

If you missed out on some of the menus, there’s always next year. And if you’re curious, you can still explore them on our Guide to Sonoran Restaurant Week 2023. Those who did partake in the festivities are still reminiscing about the food they had the chance to devour.

“I loved the Atlantic salmon,” said Natalie Moe, in reference to her experience at Wildflower. “It was served with tender, sherry-glazed beets, gratin with a subtle horseradish kick, and arugula. My husband, on the other hand, couldn’t get enough of the Bars of Sin: praline chocolate cookie topped with cappuccino mouse and served with vanilla gelato.”

“I’m still thinking about the thumbprint cookies at Dedicated,” said Hannah Hernandez. “Their Sonoran Restaurant Week menu was thoughtful and delicious.”

In the spirit of constant improvement, The Tucson Foodie team identified some opportunities for next year:

  1. The interactive Guide was a great addition. Next year, we’ll add some filters. For example, filter by opening hours, cuisine, and more. The map could also use some optimization (some readers experience issues with zooming and panning)
  2. Necesitamos crear la guía en español.
  3. Some menus were much better deals than others. Perhaps some indication as to the amount saved?
  4. This year had more Mexican restaurants participating than ever, but expanding more deeply into South Tucson / the South side of Tucson would be great.

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