The summer heat can be brutal on us Tucsonans, but the season is also rough on local restaurants, who can see a precipitous drop in cash flow in the summer months.
The upside for those of us who are stuck here: Many local restaurants are offering fantastic summer specials. Here's a sampling of what's available. Get out and support your favorite eateries during what's sure to be a rough patch.
If you can't get out of town for the summer, you can at least feel like you you're traveling with Kingfisher's Summer Road Trip, which features special menus from regions around the United States. First up is right here in the Southwest (May 26-June 13); then it's off to the Pacific Northwest (June 14-June 29) before Kingfisher does its own summer vacation and closes the doors from June 30 until it reopens for dinner on July 13. Then it's the Great Plains/Midwest (July 13-July 24); Back East (July 25-August 3); California/Hawaii (Aug. 4-Aug. 16) and finally that soulful Down South menu (Aug 17-Sept. 3). The menus will pair regional chow (and desserts from the talented Marriane Baines-McNamee) with regional food and wine, as well as some specialty cocktails that will ease you through the summer heat. Repeat customers should pick up a punch card for a free meal.
2564 E. Grant Road
If you're more into world travel, chef Janos Wilder—the guy who was into farm-to-table before farm-to-table was cool—is once again celebrating Tucson's designation as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy with his Around the Globe summer tour at his DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails restaurant. The tour starts on May 30 and will include dishes inspired by Denia, Spain; Flourianopolis, Brazil; Shunde, China; and Zahle, Lebanon. Janos will also be hosting cooking classes celebrating the regions at his neighboring Carriage House. A passport punch card will reward frequent fliers.
135 S. Sixth Ave.
Roma Imports is introducing two new summer sandwiches to cool you down for the hottest months. First is the Ultimate Roma ($7.99), stuffed with Capocolla, Genoa salami, Mortadella, Provolone cheese, roasted red peppers, lettuce, tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette. The other is the Prosuitto Caprese ($8.99) featuring fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil and thinly sliced prosciutto ham.
627 S. Vine Ave.
Vero Amore begins its 'Tour of Italy' beginning June 1. It is a revolving dinner experience and for only $18, you get a lot of cibo for your buck.
12130 N. Dove Mountain Blvd., Marana
2920 N. Swan Road
North presents four new salads ($11-13), a Burrata Tortelloni ($17), a roasted salmon ($23) and diver scallops ($25) dinner specials and two new desserts ($7) for the 2017 Tucson summer.
La Encantada, 2995 E. Skyline Drive
The Tucson Hop Shop will give you $1 off a pint if you do yoga and daily discounts for athletes that love them some cold frosty goodness after a workout.
3230 N Dodge Blvd,
Renee's Organic Oven hosts summer specials until September. For lunch, $22 will get you two huge salads and two teas or lemonades along with two sandwiches with two choices of beverage and $12 will get you any two desserts of your choice. You can also enjoy a complimentary tea with your favorite 'zoodle' dish ($18).
7065 E Tanque Verde Road
Baja Café will be offering $1 off margaritas and mimosas June through August and a early bird specials from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Both deals are Monday through Friday.
7002 E Broadway Blvd
2970 N Campbell Ave
Elliott's offers $3.50 Bloody Mary's and $2.50 mimosas every Saturday and Sunday along with their full brunch menu. Their happy hour menu, 4 to 7 p.m. everyday, offers 3.50 house-infused vodka drinks, $3.00 draft beers, $2.50 well drinks and $1 off all wine.
135 E Congress St
Ume in the Casino del Sol has a $20 all-you-can-eat sushi deal running all summer, a great way to cool down when you are coming off of a hot streak.
5655 W Valencia Road
Rocco's Little Chicago Pizza on Wednesday nights from 5 to 9 p.m. will have 20 percent off all non-boozy drinks for restaurant industry folk and teachers as well. On Mondays, Tuesday and Thursdays, you'll find a happy hour from 5 to 9 p.m. with a $5 menu, along with discounts on beer, wine and cocktails. Rocco's also offers lunch specials everyday till 4pm and has some of the best pizza and wings in town...if not anywhere really!
2707 E. Broadway Blvd.
Gourmet Girls Bakery & Bistro will offer up a complimentary house-made prickly pear lemonade or iced tea with any entrée this summer. So along with a delicious gluten-free dish, you can beat the heat with a cold sweet drink that was harvested by hand every day.
5845 N. Oracle Road
On August 13, Brother John's BBQ will host the Bacon, Blues & Brews festival. For $20 you get an all-access pass to drink fantastic local beers, listen to some down home music and—best of all—eat anything and everything bacon.
1801 N. Stone Ave.
—Compiled by Mark Whittaker