New collection from Tucson area Restaurants, artisans, retailers, and restaurants are certified by the Tucson City of Gastronomy.
The certifications were announced June 27 at a special event at the Pueblo Vida Brewing Company on East Broadway in Tucson.
Forty-five restaurants, 21 artisans/retailers, and four caterers have been honored as Certified by the Tucson City of Gastronomy. Are you looking for locally produced food and drink? Check out the Tucson City of Gastronomy website. There, you can click on each company to learn more about them.
On December 15, 2015, Tucson became the first UNESCO Culinary City in the United States, joining the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN).
UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in education, science and culture.
Tucson City of Gastronomy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It started its accreditation program in 2020. Companies applying for the two-year certification must fall into one or more of these categories:
• A locally owned restaurant or food maker.
• Prove that foods are made from scratch in their kitchen.
• Keeping Southern Arizona’s food heritage alive.
• Supporting the local food economy.
• Have a societal mindset and sustainable, ethical and fair business practices.
“Tucson has an amazing food scene,” said Dr. Jonathan Mabry, Executive Director of the City of Tucson Gastronomy. “The whole goal of the program is to recognize food companies that really lead by example in terms of supporting the local food economy, and supporting our food heritage.”
Mabry said that using innovative and sustainable food practices, taking good care of their employees and giving back to the community are also taken into account when doing certifications.
Applicants can be located anywhere in the pantry in southern Arizona, Mabry said. “We often think of it as Baja Arizona,” he said.
Mabry said that obtaining a gastronomy city certification does not depend on the popularity of the applicant’s food, but rather on the positive direction companies have taken in the Tucson area’s economic culinary sector.
For example, Barrio Charro makes sandwiches with home-baked Azteca bread made daily with white Sonoran wheat from Barrio Grains and non-GMO cornmeal.
Corralie Satta of Ghini said, “My philosophy at Ghini is to emphasize freshness and simplicity. We use only whole, locally grown foods, and create dishes that taste great and are good for you – mind, body and soul.”
Seis Kitchen uses only the freshest fish, seafood, and locally sourced, Arizona-grown beef. It also offers only cage-free, naturally raised, antibiotic-free poultry.
What does a business gain from having a Tucson City of Gastronomy poster in its window? Mabry said there are many benefits.
First, they get increased media attention and this attracts more clients. Companies are promoted on the Tucson City of Gastronomy website and on social media. The group also produces a large email newsletter and prints shelf cards to guide visitors to Tucson into the business.
The Southern Arizona Visitor Center also promotes businesses. Additionally, they are featured during Sonora Restaurant Week, the annual Tucson Cocktail Challenge and other culinary events during the year.
Mabry, a field archaeologist, said he enjoys being a part of Tucson Culinary Arts.
“I love my job in running this non-profit organization that takes advantage of this prestigious international classification to benefit society and also to be a model within the network of cities created by UNESCO,” he said.
Mabry said Tucson is the only gastronomy city that has business certification procedures, while other cities look to it as a model.
“Tucson visits thousands and thousands of emails annually from people who are planning a visit who have seen something about UNESCO…and ask where to eat,” Mabry said. “I saw this as an opportunity to create this program that would direct these visitors and locals to the food businesses that I have to give my business to. The motto of the entire program is uniquely local, responsible and delicious.”
• Restaurant and market 5 points • Ago Farmers Market and Café • anilo
• Akui-kun El Nini • Aravaiba Orchard & Inn Farms • Barrio Brewing Company.
• Black Top Grill • blue willow • Boca Taco • Charo Steak and Del Rey
• Charrovida • Coronet, Nigar and Mayer Avenue Cafe • Cup Cafe
• Delta • El Antogo Pablano • karal • El Guero Canelo
• Merendro • Exo Roast • feast / feast • Guinean • No Chiteria
• Laco Tucson • Little • Mama Louisa • Maynards
• Micah • Monica • parish • top of the summit • Evidence – Proof
• BY STEAK HOUSE • REFORMA • Mexican Rollies Patio • Saguaro angles
• Sis Kitchen • taco fish • Taco Upson • Taqueria Pico de Gallo
• Ten 55 • Tito and Pep • Tucson Tamale Corporation. • Tomerico
• General Union House • Zeo Baby
artisans and retailers
• AZ Baking • Anita Street Market • Baro bread
• Borderlands Brewing Company. • Callahan grape grower • Carlotta’s Kitchen
• Chiltepica • Sahara Prov • Dolce Pastello • Iskashitaa refugee network
• Miz Tucson • Manu Wai Mitat • mora spices • Al Atman Farms
literal popcorn • Sky Island Spice • Ten 55 • Tirrito . Farms
• Travis Peters Hot Sauce • Tucson Tamale Corporation. • Whiskey Del Buck
• feast / feast • Food Fair • San Xavier Cooperative Farm • Si Charo Catering