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10 Best Homestyle Restaurants in Tucson: Mouth-Watering Eats in the Old Pueblo



Tucson's answer to the classic greasy spoon diner is Bobo's, a cozy cafe on busy Grant Road that has been serving generations of Tucsonans. Not only will you find classic breakfast combos like two eggs with a side of crispy bacon, it's also a good place to dig into a freshly-baked pie.

If you're looking to satisfy your cravings for comfort food, look no further than The Fix. The small eatery, located near the University of Arizona campus, specializes in homemade mac and cheese. The restaurant dishes out bowls of specialty mac and cheese, including southwestern, Italian, and classic straight-up Cheddar varieties. 

For simple, down-home Mexican food that is cooked with skill and loaded with flavor, swing by Maico's Mexican Food on 22nd street near downtown Tucson. This tiny take-out restaurant is a revelation, proving you don't need a fancy dining room to eat well.

 

 

 

 


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Lindys on 4th is a local Tucson mainstay. The friendly Fourth Avenue burger joint is well-known around the city for its huge burgers, including specialty creations like the Cow Tipper, a "wet and juicy" burger heaving with bacon, melted Swiss cheese and caramelized onion. For late night dining that creeps into breakfast territory, try the Super Sunrise burger, which comes topped with a fried egg, tater tots and cheddar (for a small upcharge, you can add some bacon). On the menu, you'll find a burger for pretty much every mood and occasion. There's more to Lindys than just burgers, though. Check out the creative selection of sandwiches, salads, sides and craft cocktails.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Lindys on 4th is a homegrown burger joint offering creative, homestyle burgers.

Patricia's expert tip: Burger aficionados will want to stop by to try the restaurant's "Burger of the Month."

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Mac and Cheese lovers, be warned: stepping inside the dining room of Tucson's The Fix can be an overwhelming experience. This is a small eatery with a big menu, with dozens of takes on the classic Mac and Cheese bowl. Whether you're craving yours with southwestern zest or straight-up cheddar, The Fix has, well, your fix. The restaurant's specialty is creamy, freshly made mac and cheese, but there's also a menu of other comfort food classics, including sandwiches, burgers, and something called "pretzel tots" (they are as tasty as they sound. For dessert, sink your teeth into a freshly baked cinnamon roll or slice of decadent cheesecake. This is comfort food heaven.

Recommended for Homestyle because: If you're looking for your comfort food fix, The Fix has endless bowls of creamy mac and cheese to satisfy that craving.

Patricia's expert tip: Try the cheddar-pesto mac and cheese bowl, a.k.a. "The Big Chesto."

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Prep and Pastry opened in 2013, announcing itself as a "craft" breakfast, lunch and brunch destination in central Tucson. Essentially, this means dishes are made from scratch and crafted from locally sourced ingredients. The breakfast menu is unique and sophisticated. Highlights include the Chef Omelette, which changes daily and is served with a side of the house hash. Another stand-out is the A.M. Relleno, a savory mix of eggs, pico, queso fresco, poblano pepper, corn tortilla strips, and a rich mole sauce. The duck confit hash is another gourmet breakfast specialty, made with shallots, spinach, chardonnay braised golden raisins, goat cheese mousse, and an over easy egg.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Prep & Pastry dishes out homestyle fare using local and gourmet ingredients.

Patricia's expert tip: Prep & Pastry now has two locations in Tucson, including central and east-side locations.

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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 cheekily-named 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 Homestyle because: Little Anthony's Diner is the kind of old-school home-style diner that never really goes out of style.

Patricia's expert tip: For a good lunch deal, check out the Blue Plate Specials menu, served every day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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This unassuming little take-out restaurant on busy 22nd Street near downtown Tucson has some of the best take-out Mexican food in the city. You'll find low-priced delicious food that doesn't skimp on flavor. All the usual suspects are on the menu, including giant burritos, tacos, enchiladas, chimichangas, tortas and a long list of combination platters. Meats are simmered in your choice of red, green and adobado sauce. The food is simple and down-home, but the execution is skillful. There's even a good vegetarian burrito for non-meat eating folks. This is a great place to swing by after a long day at work.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Maico's may be a small take-out joint, but the kitchen staff knows how to prepare excellent, homestyle Mexican food.

Patricia's expert tip: Try the taco adobado, tender pieces of simmered meats dressed in a tangy red sauce.

Read more about Maico's Mexican Fast Food Restaurant →




Corned beef hash and eggs is the favorite at Robert's, with good reason. It's the real thing. Of course there are other options, including just about every conceivable combination of eggs and breakfast meats is on the menu, along with plenty of freshly-baked bread and pastry. Lunch is hearty comfort food: meatloaf, chicken fried steak or pork chops, all with mashed potatoes, a roll and vegetable of the day. There are a few sandwiches too, of the egg salad-grilled ham and cheese variety, and homemade pies and cakes for dessert. Make sure to try the homemade cinnamon rolls too, a restaurant staple.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Robert's Restaurant offers fresh-baked breads, pastries and a long list of breakfast classics.

Patricia's expert tip: Try any of the fresh pastries and breads, all baked fresh in the restaurant.

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Baja Cafe, which now has three locations in Tucson, still shines. The cafe is only open for breakfast and lunch, but it's well worth seeking out when you're craving a homestyle southwestern meal. The original midtown location on Broadway features indoor seating and a shaded patio with free wi-fi. The menu offers traditional Mexican fare, as well as American classics made with southwestern ingredients and fare. This is the place to go when you're craving nopalitos (cactus), hatch chiles and prickly pear. The cafe serves local Arbuckle coffee. House specialties include the popular Baja Burger, two burger patties seared in an adobo sauce and topped with jalapeno bacon, Hatch green chili, chipotle mayonnaise and pepper jack cheese.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Baja Cafe is a good destination for a Southwestern-inflected homestyle breakfast.

Patricia's expert tip: For breakfast, be sure to sample the pancakes, some of the best in town.

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Frank's & Francisco's


You won't find elegant dining rooms at Frank's, but that alone is part of this mid-century diner's charm. A long-time Tucson staple and one of the oldest diners in town, Frank's Restaurant is famous for its fast, friendly take on breakfast and lunch. The French toast, eggs, bacon and coffee are consistently good. Even better, Frank's is proof that the early bird really does get the worm: if you arrive before 9 am on a weekday morning, you can order The Early Bird Special, two eggs prepared in any style, served with home fries or hash browns and your choice of biscuit, toast or tortilla--all for less than two dollars. Not a bad way to get the day started.

Recommended for Homestyle because: Frank's is a homestyle restaurant where early birds can nosh on straightforward breakfast fare.

Patricia's expert tip: If you're an early riser, stop by for the Early Morning Special, two Eggs any style, home Fries or Hash Browns, and a biscuit, toast or a tortilla for less than two bucks. Served Monday through Friday before 9 am.

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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 Homestyle because: Sunny Daze Cafe in midtown Tucson serves great breakfast and lunch options with a laidback beach attitude.

Patricia's expert tip: You'll want to sample the restaurant's popular "sunny puffs," deep-fried rolls of dough sprinkled with powdered sugar.

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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 Homestyle because: Bobo's Restaurant is a Tucson original, an old-fashioned greasy spoon dishing out great breakfast plates.

Patricia's expert tip: Early bird special available Monday to Friday before 8 am.

Read more about BoBo's →


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Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega works as a writer and editor in Phoenix.

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