A Battle of the Best

Recently, the Arizona Daily Star conducted a “contest” for The Best Happy Hour in Tucson. It was part of a series the paper has been doing for the past couple of years. People send in suggestions and the paper whittles the list down to thirty-two. The contest is then set up similar to the NCAA tourney (it’s even called ‘Whatever the Category Is Madness’) and week by week people vote for their favorite. Restaurants are allowed to campaign via the internet or with live customers.
They’ve had a wing contest and did pizza twice. I really can’t remember the others partially because I thought the whole thing was kind of weird and there was some shady dealings going on by one or two restaurants.
But the latest contest was a great idea. The contestants were more evenly matched for the first round and the Final Two, Zona 78 and Union Public House, were not only some of my favorite restaurants but they also deserved to be there.
Zona 78 has really great deals: half-price apps, deals on wine, beer and cocktails. Their antipasto board alone is worth stuffing the ballot box.
Union, as we call it at our house, is truly one of our faves and not just at Happy Hour. They have something special every day of the week. On Mondays and Tuesdays all of the wine is half price and Wednesdays are Whiskey Wednesdays.
Anyway, Union won and we went last night to celebrate. We had great wings, the kickass pub chips and the pork belly. I had a glass of pinot noir and John had a couple of well-built Ketel One cocktails.
Owner/Manager Grant Krueger was there and was smiling ear to ear. Grant is a great guy and has a fine sense of what works.
Congrats to Union. The win is well deserved. And all you folks at Zona keep up the great work. You should be proud of the fact that you came so far among such stiff competition.

PS The photo is one of Union’s specialties: Chicken & Waffles. I can’t seem to find any others in all the mess of files I have.