Happy Anniversary!

Writing ‘Lost Restaurants of Tucson’ made me think a lot about the longevity of current restaurants in Tucson. Which ones will survive?
The good news is that this month marks the anniversary of three very popular restaurants in Tucson. Two are pizza-centric and one is Mexican: two types of restaurants that have plenty of competition in Tucson. Plus, pizza joints and Mexican restaurants also have a high rate of failure.
But we’re here to celebrate, right?
Penca is the only one of the anniversary restaurants located in the booming downtown Tucson. It’s the newest of the three, celebrating their third year in business. This chic Mexican place serves food from central Mexico and has a highly acclaimed cocktail program. It’s been mentioned in several national publications. Owner Patricia Schwabe knows her stuff and brings passion to the plate, much to the delight of Sonoran-style eating Tucsonans.My fave is chiles en nogada, a dish that is as tasty as it is beautiful.

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1702, a pizza place located on Speedway Boulevard, near the UofA, has been serving craft beer long before it became popular. Offerings have grown over 1702’s ten years in business and the pies here continue to shine. A slice is big enough for a meal. Add a beer and you’re all set. Special prices on brews are available through March 17th.

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Vero Amore is also celebrating their tenth anniversary. The Mussman brothers, Aric and Josh, have come a long way from the simple little spot they opened in 2006. There are now two sites; one in midtown and the other on the far Northwest side. Vero Amore is certified by The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana , whose strict rules must be followed to a tee. While pizza was all they served when they opened, they have since graduated to other great Italian specialties and their bar program includes The Still, a “secret” speakeasy located in the rear of the Swan & Ft. Lowell Roads. Check their Facebook page for month long specialties.

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Congrats to all three. Long may you reign!