Phoenix and Tucson are making their marks in the country’s culinary scene. Local restaurant concepts are bold and flavorful, like Diablo Burger and the locally sourced ingredients in its hearty English-muffin-sandwiched burgers. They’re also full of character, like Oregano’s Pizza Bistro, with its vintage decor and Chicago-style pies.
And several ventures were born from a local restaurateur company, Fox Restaurant Concepts, whose founder, Sam Fox, has been honored as a James Beard Foundation Award nominee (Outstanding Restaurateur, 2016).
Find these eight Arizona-born restaurants in Tucson.
Known for its artisanal pizzas and a fine collection of wines, Humble Pie has quickly expanded to seven Valley locations, two in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and, finally, one in Tucson at La Encantada. The popular 12-inch pies are topped with ingredients like shrimp and lemon zest, fig and prosciutto, and Buffalo chicken, and the gluten-free crust is one people return for.
The Living Room Wine Café & Lounge
Joining the Humble Pie family of restaurants, The Living Room Wine Café & Lounge is an open-air wine concept designed for gathering and socializing. Share a variety of appetizers, bruschetta, sushi rolls and salads while sipping from a flight of reds or whites or a glass selected from a list of more than two dozen labels. Tucson’s La Encantada location is joined by four other addresses in the Phoenix-metro area.
Oregano’s Pizza Bistro
This Chicago-inspired, vintage-themed pizza place boasts 18 different addresses throughout the state, with two locales in Tucson. Specialty pan, thin-crust and stuffed pies are topped in a myriad of creative ways—Grandma G’s Rosemary Chicken Potato and Uncle Nick’s Chicken Parm Pie are among the top options. And the freshly baked 6-inch Original Pizza Cookie topped with ice cream is the only way to finish the meal.
Sauce Pizza & Wine
Pizza and pasta cravings are quickly satisfied at this fast-casual eatery that has more than a dozen statewide locations, including four in Tucson. Dine with friends to enjoy the best of both worlds; the pizzas topped with spicy chicken sausage and poblano peppers or goat cheese and arugula are just as indulgent as the mac 'n' Cheese. Gluten-free pizza crust and pasta are available.
The “db”-stamped English muffin is a signature of this quick-service burger joint that serves up local, grass-fed, hormone-free meats. The juicy burgers are topped with as many locally sourced ingredients as the company can find within a 250-mile radius, and a craft beer from an Arizona brewery is the perfect accompaniment. Diablo Burger has locations in downtown Tucson and Flagstaff, with another opening soon in Phoenix. In Tucson, neighboring Good Oak Bar pours Arizona craft beers and wines for more sipping before or after your meal.
Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar
Local restaurateur company Fox Restaurant Concepts has 16 ventures to its name thus far, with eateries spanning the country. Tucson is home to several concepts, including Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar, where diners choose from gourmet burgers and 21 wines by the glass inside a bright, modern atmosphere. The burger of the week and milkshake of the month encourage regular return visits.
Blanco Tacos + Tequila
At Fox Restaurant Concepts’ modern Mexican eatery, the south-of-the-border-inspired menu combines flavorful ingredients in classic and innovative tacos, burritos and enchiladas. The Mexican street corn and guacamole are popular starters, cheese crisps are a favorite, and tequila is enjoyed à la carte or incorporated into a fruity margarita.
The third member of the Fox Restaurant Concepts family in Tucson is North Italia, a modern Italian eatery with small plates—grilled artichoke, wild mushroom polenta, black Mediterranean mussels—handmade pastas and pizzas, as well as elegant entrées including red-wine-glazed short ribs and diver scallops.