When it comes to recognizing up-and-coming restaurants around the world, few publications have the credentials as Food & Wine Magazine. Every year, the editors at Food & Wine come together to discuss what they’ve seen over the past 12 months and put together a list of the next great food cities found anywhere in the United States. This year, the magazine has included Tucson, and while the city has long been known for its food (it and San Antonio are the only two UNESCO Cities of Gastronomy in the country), Food & Wine highlights several excellent restaurants, many of which you have to be a local to appreciate.
It would be easy for the magazine to go after low-hanging fruit when covering Tucson’s food scene. Several restaurants and their owners have been on culinary shows over the past year, and yet the magazine steered clear of even mentioning these restaurants. Instead, it cut through the fog of restaurants with great PR teams and instead focused on the restaurants that make Tucson the food destination it is.
Coverage begins with a write-up about El Charro Cafe, the 100-year-old Mexican restaurant and inventor of the chimichanga. While this particular restaurant is usually at the top of most “must visit” lists, Food & Wine directed attention to La Indita, which doesn’t receive the same kind of recognition, yet locals know it has some of the best fried Tarascan tacos in town. Tacos Apson, Taqueria Pico De Gallo, St. Mary’s Mexican Food, and Anita’s Street Market help round out the Mexican food coverage.
The magazine covered more than just Mexican food though. It brought up both La Estrella Bakery and Barrio Bread (a current James Beard finalist), not to mention Monsoon Chocolate. It even had nearly an entire paragraph on Sonoran hot dogs. Few outside of Tucson know of BK Tacos or Ruiz Hot Dogs Los Chipilones, yet Food & Wine made sure to cover these local favorites. Exo Roast Co., Presta, Noodleholics, Anello, and 5 Points Market & Restaurant also receive shout-outs in the publication's annual presentation of the next great food cities.
The other cities to make Food & Wine’s “Next Great Food Cities” are Cincinnati, Boise, Omaha, Indianapolis, Jersey City (New Jersey), Charlotte, Bozeman (Montana), Biddeford (Maine), Charlottesville (Virginia), and Greenville (South Carolina).
To see the complete coverage of Tucson, as well as the other “Next Great Food Cities,” head on over to Food & Wine.