Our guide to the 4 best new restaurants in Tucson

A restaurant table filled with shared plates and cocktails.

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By Stacy Rounds

May 13, 2024

Are you on the hunt for the best new restaurants in Tucson? Look no further! Our readers have spoken, and the results of our recent poll are in. From Mexican artistry to BBQ delights, and comfort food with a twist to a brunch party paradise, these top restaurants are sure to satisfy your hunger. Let’s dive into the delicious details of the best new eateries in town.

People playing pickleball in pickleball courts.

Courtesy of Corbett’s

4. Corbett’s

Corbett’s secures its spot on our “favorite new restaurants” list as the go-to new brunch joint for Tuscon locals thanks to our readers’ many write-in votes. This exciting, modern restaurant is a hotspot for those who argue that brunch can be an all-day event. At Corbett’s, diners can enjoy a fabulous casual brunch or a delicious, filling dinner with a side of pickleball, movie nights, dancing, and live music. Get ready for some fun.

Corbett’s, unlike hoity-toity brunch spots, serves up brunch fare with a twist that will have you licking your plate clean. Breakfast tacos? Yes, please. Morning fried rice? Sign me up. In the mood for a waffle? (That’s the name of the dish!) Enjoy it with some berries, a mimosa, and a side of soft serve ice cream with sprinkles.

In Tuscon’s bustling culinary landscape, Corbett’s stands out as the Weird Al of brunch, and our readers are all for it. Sometimes, the best culinary experiences are those that feel like a warm hug followed by throwing stuff at a bell, followed by a game of pickleball. Why not? So, next time the weekend rolls around, and the question of where to brunch (or dinner) arises, remember Corbett’s.

Several dishes including street tacos.

Courtesy of Redbird Scratch Kitchen

3. Redbird Scratch Kitchen

Landing the number three spot in our top new restaurant lineup, Redbird Scratch Kitchen offers all of your bar food favorites, elevated. This locally owned and operated bar serves up your favorite craft cocktails, beers, and comfort foods, but with a playful, gourmet twist that’ll have your taste buds doing somersaults.

The beauty of Redbird Scratch Kitchen lies in its commitment to the community. Their local partners provide fresh tortillas, teas, coffees, and fresh waffle fries which are a must-have. And their no-antibiotics-ever policy married with their pledge to always use fresh, never frozen, ingredients means you can feel good about each and every menu item.

Step into Redbird, and you’ll find yourself enveloped in warmth from the atmosphere and the genuine hospitality that greets every guest. It’s the kind of place that invites you to relax, unwind, and savor the moment, whether you’re diving into a soul-soothing bowl of mac and cheese or sharing a laugh over a plate of spicy wings.

Redbird Scratch Kitchen truly is a testament to Tuscon’s vibrant culinary scene, offering a unique twist on the foods we’ve all grown up loving. It stands proudly for its innovation in comfort cuisine, proving that with a little creativity, even the most traditional dishes can be transformed into something extraordinary.

The outside of the building at Bashful Bandit BBQ with a logo and pink flowers.

Courtesy of Bashful Bandit Barbecue

2. Bashful Bandit Barbecue

Snagging the silver medal in Tucson’s new restaurant showdown is Bashful Bandit Barbecue, a spot that turns the art of smoking meat Texas-style into an obsession. If you are an avid meat lover, you need to check this place out. They’re churning out the best brisket, pork, chicken, ribs, and delightful vegetarian options Wednesday through Sunday. But don’t come too late. Their meticulously smoked meals are so popular they may run out!

Newly opened in the Bashful Bandit building, this new concept has kept the original bar intact and is offering happy hour and extended bar hours. With a laid-back vibe, it’s the perfect place to kick back with friends, share a few laughs, and indulge in some seriously good eats. (But be sure to bring friends you’re comfortable with so you can undo your belt without judgment.)

But it’s not all about the meat. The sides here are more than mere afterthoughts. From the tangy coleslaw to the baked beans that have been simmered all day, every item on the menu adds something special to the BBQ experience.

In a city where new restaurants pop up constantly, Bashful Bandit Barbecue has managed to carve out a niche for itself by doing something simple, but doing it exceptionally well. So, if your idea of happiness involves a plate piled high with the finest smoked meats Tuscon has to offer, make your way to Bashful Bandit. Just be sure to bring your appetite — you’re going to need it.

 

Tuna, shrimp, avocado, and vegetables artfully plated.

Courtesy of La Frida

1. La Frida

Edging out the competition by a slender margin of three votes, La Frida clinches the title as the number one new restaurant in Tuscon. This establishment is a tribute to the legendary Frida Kahlo, capturing the essence of Mexican cuisine through a kaleidoscope of flavors and colors that would make the legendary artist proud.

La Frida isn’t shy about its ambition to redefine Mexican cuisine, and it shows. The attention to detail extends beyond the plate, with a décor that mirrors the vibrancy of Kahlo’s art, enveloping diners in a masterpiece. The lively ambiance acts as the perfect backdrop for the culinary symphony played out on your plate, ensuring that every review matches their first: “Creative cuisine, stylish interior, large portions. Will definitely be back.”

In a city teeming with dining options, La Frida stands out for its exceptional, artistic fare and its celebration of culture, creativity, and community. So, if you’re ready to be whisked away on an unforgettable flavor adventure, make sure to visit La Frida soon!

Author

  • Stacy Rounds

    Stacy Rounds is a writer and growth producer for Copper Courier. Prior to joining the team, Stacy has worked as a writer, editor, and engagement specialist covering topics ranging from local history, disability advocacy, recreation, and food hotspots to relationships and mental health.

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