Back in my college days, Gentle Ben’s was a cool place to hang, swill a few beers and enjoy a cheese board. Located in a stately old house that had once been the Yucca Tea Room (a very popular UoA gathering spot in the ‘20’s and ‘30’s – see page 136 in ‘Lost Restaurants of Tucson.) Ben’s was always fun.
I graduated, got married, moved away and moved back; Gentle Ben’s changed hands, changed names and in 1991 changed back to Gentle Ben’s with a new owner, Dennis Arnold, who had a vision to make craft beer.
When Arnold started brewing craft beer was a rarity; craft breweries were few and far between. But Arnold persisted, growing his craft little by little. These days he owns not just Gentle Ben’s, which is now located a couple of blocks south of the original) and Barrio Brewing Company, where he now brews a full assortment of brews. Barrio is located south of Downtown in and refurbished factory.
This year Barrio & Gentle Ben’s celebrate 25 years in business.
And they are doing it up in style.
From October 2nd to October 7th – at either location – you can get a special 25th Anniversary meal – a appetizer, an entrée, gelato and, of course a beer of your choice (we like the Barrio Blonde, which is the longest, continuously brewed craft beer in Arizona). You also get a commemorative t-shirt and beer glass. At $25 (plus tax and tip) it’s a bargain and a half.
Barrio Brewing Co. brews ten year-round and three seasonal beers and is one of the first craft beers in Tucson that is available in cans. There ae now several canned brews that can be found at liquor stores and other outlets.
Arnold promises more information and other “interesting facts” as the Silver Anniversary nears.
On Saturday we ate at Graze Premium Burgers for the first time. We enjoyed the burgers and the fries. There is a true sense of creating a great, healthful product here. They use Niman Ranch all-natural antibiotic/hormone free premium beef. There are some interesting dipping sauces that include Siracha mayo, sweet red chili and curry ketchup.
Today, Blake’s LotaBurgers, a popular chain out of New Mexico, opens right across the street. I’ve heard good things about Blake’s and will try them soon. Blake’s is known for their green chile cheeseburgers. They use Hatch chiles, which are some of the best on the planet. They also have hot dogs, pulled pork and chicken sandwiches and breakfast.
It will be interesting to see how the competition plays out, but that’s not what this post is about.
After I downloaded the photos from Graze, I decided to put all my burger photos in one fold. That simple thought turned into a three day project where I organized all the photos in my laptop!
There is still some chaos as I don’t know where all the pics were taken and in some cases what the food is so there is work to be done. But I have to say I’m proud of myself and I hope to keep on top of things.
Only time will tell.
Anyway, here are a few burger pics – in no particular order of preference -I’ve taken over the years. (Sorry, I have no Blake’s photos.)