A fixture in Tucson since 1971, this is the preferred stop on sweltering Arizona days when folks drop in for an "eegee," a unique fruity, slushy concoction somewhere between an Italian ice and a slightly thawed sorbet. Choose from lemon, strawberry, pina colada or the changing flavor of the month. Food-wise, the subs, salads, soups, fries and pasta are steps above the usual fast food fare, making it a popular lunchtime destination, too. There are about 20 locations around town, so an "eegee" is never far from hand! Come here for an authentic taste of Tucson that won't break the budget.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Kids will love the popular "eegee" fruit slushies, a local staple with new flavors featured every month.
Patricia's expert tip: Don't miss the "eegee," a fruity slushy creation that is unique to this Tucson chain.
Rocco's Little Chicago Pizzeria specializes in Chicago-style delights and classic Italian pasta dishes. Try their award-wining chicken wings and specialty pizzas. The Fungus Humongous features a grilled mixture of portabella & white mushrooms, green peppers, mushrooms with onions & garlic, and all the real mozzarella cheese you would ever want. This homey pizzeria is neighborhood favorite, and the pizza pies, especially deep dish specialties, are to die for. The pizzeria also serves great pasta, including Spaghetti with Marinara, Florentine ravioli, Fettucini Alfredo, and Rotelli with pesto. Great appetizers and salads round out a full menu of hot, tasty pizza and Italian specialties.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Kids and adults alike will love the deep-dish Chicago-style pizza at Rocco's, one of the best in the city.
Patricia's expert tip: Call in your order well ahead of time; take-out service can be slow.
Fresco Pizzeria and Pastaria delivers the kind of consistently good pizza and pasta that can be difficult to find at your local pizza chain. With over 50 pizza toppings available, you can design the pie of your dreams, or try one of their winning specialty pizzas. For a quick lunch or dinner, pick up one of their ready-when-you-are pasta entrees, fresh tossed salads, oven-baked, parmesan-style subs, or classic calzones. Fresh ingredients, friendly service and original house recipes make this regional pizza and pasta chain stand out from the crowd. All pasta entrees come with half a loaf of garlic bread, fresh made & ready when you come in.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Kids will love designing their own pizza at this fast casual eatery.
Patricia's expert tip: Try the Absolutely Alfredo specialty pizza. Creamy and savory.
This beach-inspired neighborhood cafe brings the spirit and attitude of the beach to the sunny deserts of Tucson. Sunny Daze Cafe dishes out a great breakfast, with a huge selection of classics including hotcakes, french toast, waffles, omelettes, egg dishes, and hot and cold cereals. Try one of the house specialties, such as the popular Mark's Big Daddy Breakfast, which comes with three eggs, two strips of bacon, two sausage links, three hotcakes, toast and your choice of regular or loaded hash browns. The Huevos Rancheros are quite good too. There is also a build your own omelette option for a custom breakfast specialty.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Sunny Daze has a fun, beach-themed family-friendly dining room and plenty of kid-approved menu items.
Patricia's expert tip: You'll want to sample the restaurant's popular "sunny puffs," deep-fried rolls of dough sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Bobo's Restaurant in Tucson offers home style and country breakfasts in a friendly neighborhood dining environment. This local greasy spoon is a favorite with breakfast-lovers looking for hot, tasty breakfast platters. You'll find the usual suspects of pancakes, omelets and sides, as well as an assortment of house specialties. Sweet tooths will want to try the banana pancakes, french toast or chocolate chip pancakes, enormous, fluffy and sweet. For an out-of-this-world breakfast plate, try the Flying Saucer pancake. Of course, no matter what you order, you'll want to try Bobo's famous fresh-baked buttermilk biscuits. A great place to rub elbows with locals.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Bobo's is one of Tucson's oldest and most popular family-friendly greasy spoon diners.
Patricia's expert tip: Early bird special available Monday to Friday before 8 am.
For a quick bite on your way to work or a day of sightseeing, bypass all those fast food chains and stop at Beyond Bread. The cinnamon raisin French toast is unbeatable, but if you like protein in the morning, try a made-to-order omelette, stuffed full of your choice of meats, cheese and veggies. Lighter appetites might prefer a simple croissant, muffin or scone. Later in the day, opt for a cleverly named sandwich or salad, a slice of dark chocolate cake or a massive cookie. Breads range from specials like Ancho-Chipotle-White Cheddar and Brie-Scallion-Chive to more traditional varieties such as challah and baguettes � there are more than 30 breads in the regular schedule, about half of which are available on any given day.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Kids will love the fresh-made sandwiches and well-stocked pastry counter.
Patricia's expert tip: Don't leave without paying a visit to the pastry counter.
The original El Charro, founded in 1922, is the oldest Mexican restaurant in Tucson; the original owner, Monica Flin, is said to have invented the chimichanga. The restaurant also claims the impressive title of oldest Mexican food restaurant in the country continually operated by the same family. That heritage remains strong today with a commitment to fresh, authentic Sonoran cuisine and Tucson-style Mexican food. Stop by the adjacent cantina, with its pleasant outdoor seating, and enjoy one of the finest margaritas in town. Then, have classic meals such as carne asada or carne seca beef marinated in lime and garlic. A small gift shop inside sells an assortment of Southwestern gifts. Reservations suggested on weekends.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: El Charro is the city's oldest and most popular family-run Mexican food restaurant, ideal for a family outing.
Patricia's expert tip: Stop by next door at La Tiendita, the restaurant's gift shop, for an assortment of uniquely Southwestern gifts.
This colorful small burger shop is a Tucson destination for serious burger lovers, and it's easy to see why. Monkey Burger features a selection of hearty, gourmet burgers. Some of the most popular burgers include "The Kitchen Sink," which includes bacon, American cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, shredded lettuce, pickle slices and French fries. Like your burger on the simple side? Order the "Bare Bones," which comes with a juicy patty, your choice of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and a pickle on the side. There is also a kid's burger, veggie burger, and gourmet salads. Families with kids will love the colorful original artwork and monkey-themed decor.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Families will have fun with the colorful, monkey-themed decor and enjoy the mouth-watering gourmet burgers at Monkey Burger.
Patricia's expert tip: Try the sweet potato fries, which are fresh-made and delicious.
If diner food is your thing, Little Anthony's Diner in Tucson specializes in highly craveable breakfast, lunch and dinner plates that will satisfy your hunger for Americana fare. Tempting starters include deep fried mac and cheese, nachos, poppers and mini chimis. A full menu of gourmet burgers include rock and roll-themed specialties like The Wild Thing (a patty with sauteed mushrooms) and the Blue Suede Burger (topped with blue cheese crumbles and bacon). There's also a cheeky menu called "Things Elvis Wouldn't Eat" filled with lighter fare like chef's salad, fruit plates and soup. The restaurant regularly hosts family-friendly classic car nights.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Little Anthony's Diner is a family-friendly '50s diner complete with rock 'n' roll-themed burgers and classic car nights.
Patricia's expert tip: Stop by between 11 am to 3 pm on Monday through Friday for the "Recession Buster" lunch special.
HUB Restaurant and Ice Creamery has quickly become a popular downtown Tucson dining destination. The menu is eclectic, fun and always fresh. Starters include a fresh calamari, jumbo lump crab cakes, and pei mussels. The Mac & Cheese is a house favorite. Choose from three varieties on the American comfort food staple: classic, bacon and lobster. Stand-out main dishes include the corned beef hash, made with red potatoes, caramelized onions, bell peppers, asparagus, swiss cheese, two fried eggs--all served with toasted bread. There is also an extensive draft beer, wine and cocktail menu. And for the dessert, try a soft serve treat from the creamery side of the restaurant.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: HUB specializes in kid-friendly comfort food classics, like creamy, homemade Mac & Cheese.
Patricia's expert tip: Happy hour every day from 4 to 5 pm.