New: Check It Out Hamburgers
A new hamburger joint called Check It Out Hamburgers has opened in what was formerly a Taco Shop Co. at 45 W. Valencia Road. The burgers are affordable and tasty, and every order of hand-cut fries comes with a side of delicious aioli. Our only fear is that the place's logo and menu board resemble the logo and menu board at In-N-Out Burger so much that it's only a matter of time before the lawyers show up.
Tucson Culinary Festival
The Tucson Culinary Festival takes place during the last weekend of October, and it's a good idea to get tickets soon if you're considering attending. The event brings together top chefs and cocktail experts for competitions, tastings and swank dinners, and benefits several charitable organizations. This year, Tucson Originals—the alliance of locally owned restaurants that organizes the event—has added a new facet called Originals Adventure, which features special dinners at restaurants across the city. The festival takes place from Thursday, Oct. 27, through Sunday, Oct. 30; tucsonculinaryfestival.com.
Aaron DeFeo, one of Tucson's leading mixologists, has moved from Hotel Congress to Casino del Sol at 5655 W. Valencia Road, where he's working up another array of amazing cocktails. DeFeo has reworked the various cocktail programs throughout the casino and is readying his bartending staff for the big unveiling of the casino's new addition in early November. DeFeo says there are more than 30 original and "tweaked classic" cocktails in the works, and that he's even playing with a little molecular mixology, a branch of bartending that involves presenting certain cocktail ingredients in unusual forms such as gases and foams.
Sir Veza's 2.0
Ray Flores, owner of Sir Veza's Taco Garage at 4699 E. Speedway Blvd., is opening another location in the former Marie Callender's building at 220 W. Wetmore Road, right by the Tucson Mall. Flores says the new location will be an upgraded version of the original, and that FORS Architecture + Interiors—the company that designed interiors for Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails, Hub Restaurant and Ice Creamery and other restaurants—is handling the design. The menu is expected to be pretty much the same as what's found at the original location. The new spot is expected to open in late November.