Italian Beef at Tommy D's (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Nine on the Line: Tommy McCrea of Tommy D’s

January 25, 2024
By Matt Sterner

“Nine on the Line” is a chef Q&A series asking the same nine questions to different chefs.

Tommy D’s, the sandwich shop near Skate Country at 8060 E. 22nd St., has had a couple of names in the past — Luke’s then followed by Kenny D’s. However, the spot has remained a local sandwich staple on the east side now for nearly 40 years and Tommy McCrea of Tommy D’s is keeping that legacy going.

a car parked in front of a store
Tommy D’s (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

When it comes to quality, Tommy D’s isn’t skimping out! Their beef is all Angus and goes through a two-day process of cooking and resting, marries with its au-jus to finish the process, and then gets added to a freshly baked baguette. Ta-da! A Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich at your fingertips here in the Old Pueblo.

On Saturday, January 27, Tommy D’s is celebrating 38 years of superb sandwiches so stop by 8060 E. 22nd St. and show some love! “This is not a flavor you can find in a lot of places in Tucson, so if this sounds good, come and check us out,” McCrea added.

So, without further ado, I present Nine on the Line with Tommy McCrea of Tommy D’s. 

Tommy and Janna McCrea of Tommy D’s (Photo by Mark Whittaker)

It’s not so much the first dish I’ve had and rather a dish I had over and over, and it was spaghetti. I was amazed at how you can have this dish in so many different places from home to restaurants, and it can so easily be runny ’’sghetti,” or it can be well crafted with balance and proportion.

We use a Robot Coup all of the time! Different blade options, allow for anything from a crinkle to a chip!

It was eggs and toast and I was actually four years old on my first attempt. I can’t recall if my parents had quietly acknowledged the shell bits that were inevitably found in the egg that I proudly presented them, but nonetheless, I remember them eating all of it. 

Pickling! Our housemade Giardiniera is a minimum of 10 to 20 days of cold pickling before we use it in our shop. I have been working on the heat and color! As soon as it is ready we should be debuting a mild and a very hot Giardiniera, as well as a Green Giardiniera.

I would be beyond stoked to cook with Gordon Ramsey, this might be super cliche given the spotlight but that dude is seriously inspirational. To eat dinner with… I would have to say Steve Jobs again — another super inspirational person whose brain I would love to pick over an amazing meal and a glass of wine!

You’re killing me! There are so many! However, If I had to choose I would go with this small little seafood place in Rosarito, Mexico. They served fresh lobster on the half shell, and you can enjoy it at a window seat high above the crash of the wave but close enough to feel the spray kiss your face.

If you have a box of Drumstick cones in the freezer — not after I find out! Oh, and brand-name chocolate chip cookies.

I love Rosita’s taco truck, IOU Sushi, and La Herradura.

I immediately think of absurd things like I need something ridiculous — some exotic sushi from Jiro paired with an exquisite saki and then herb-crusted lamb paired with a nice barrel-aged stout. Of course, a strawberry cheesecake and an Americano to finish!

a sandwich sitting on top of a table
Chicago Dog at Tommy D’s (Photo by Hannah Hernandez)

Tommy D’s is located at 8060 E. 22nd St. #100. For more information, call (520) 722-8900 and visit

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