Construction is underway on a third hotel at The Bridges, near Interstate 10 and Park Avenue.
WaterWalk will be a 126-room hotel with apartment-style suites, catering to business travelers or families on extended stays.
“Tucson was selected as a preferred market for development based on its exceptional growth trends and increasing business travel needs,” said WaterWalk CEO Mimi Oliver. “Bringing a new type of travel product to Pima County will offer visitors to the city something more than the standard hotel experience, providing a thoughtful, comfortable, spacious stay with built-in optionality and experiences conducive to all lengths of stay.”
The Wichita, Kansas-based hotel has nine open properties across eight markets, including Wichita, Denver, two in Dallas, San Antonio, Overland Park, Raleigh, Charlotte and Minneapolis.
Aside from Tucson, three properties are under construction in Phoenix, Boise and Jacksonville and more than 20 are in the development pipeline.
The Tucson site is set to open in 2023.
The Bridges is home to major retailers such as Walmart and Costco along with big employers such as the UA Tech Park and Geico, plus numerous retailers.
One hotel, WoodSprings Suites, is already open, and Springhill Suites is also under construction.
The south-side development has enjoyed much success and has added new retail and restaurant venues every year.
Despite a bleak economic outlook for the site, developers took a leap of faith and bought the property for $53 million in 2005.
Costco was the first retailer to open in the new Tucson Marketplace at The Bridges in 2011.
The store broke an opening-day record with $730,000 in sales.
40+ new restaurants and bars Tucson welcomed in 2021
Barrio Charro, 3699 N. Campbell Ave., was brought to Tucson by a “culinary marriage” between the minds behind El Charro Café and Barrio Bread.
Toast 101, 4699 E. Speedway Blvd., is the place to go for familiar brunch options served in a trendy atmosphere.
Tea lovers can visit the Transit Tea drive-thru, 2645 E. Speedway Blvd., for a wide selection of drinks including tea sodas, tea lattes, chai teas and slushy-like “tea snows.”
Bella’s Gelato Shoppe
Bella’s Gelato started as a local food truck but now has a stand-alone shop at 2648 E. Speedway Blvd.
The menu of a dozen gelato and sorbet flavors, plus smoothies, coffee and floats, should cool down anyone in search of a summer treat.
A Tucson favorite for decades, Chicago Bar announced it would close permanently in 2020, but it reopened this April under new owner Yongsoo Seo.
Chicago Bar, 5954 E. Speedway Blvd., no longer has a restaurant, but Seo hopes to get food trucks on site for nights that feature live music.
Edna’s Eatery, 2150 N. Alvernon Way, was formerly Café Botánica inside the Tucson Botanical Gardens.
The name may have changed, but visitors can still grab a drink and something for breakfast or lunch while enjoying the gardens.
El Mezquite Grill and Taqueria
El Mezquite Grill and Taqueria, 280 S. Church Ave., and its gourmet Mexican, Spanish and French dishes can be found downtown at the new DoubleTree Hilton next door to the Tucson Convention Center.
Flora’s Market Run
Flora’s Market Run, 2513 E. Sixth St., is part grocery store, part restaurant and features a sushi bar, produce from local Tucson farmers, a cafe and a deli that will provide you the perfect cuts of meat to make an Instagram-worthy charcuterie board.
Taqueria La Esquina
Taqueria La Esquina started out as a food truck but has since moved to a storefront at 4876 S. Sixth Avenue, where a variety of tacos, Sonoran dogs and churros can be found.
A full bar is expected to be coming soon, but for now, beer is available for those looking to pair a drink with their Sonoran street food.
Santorini Greek Cafe
This cafe features all the Greek classics (no, not Homer’s “The Iliad”): gyros, lamb skewers, tzatziki, dolmathes and mousakas, to name a few.
Santorini Greek Cafe is at 2545 E. Speedway Blvd., a couple doors down from The Screamery ice cream shop.
Gallery of Food Bodega
The Gallery of Food Bodega, at 2522 E. Fort Lowell Road, had its grand opening this June, despite technically first opening back in October 2020.
This store, run by Kristine Jensen of the Gallery of Food catering company, sells locally-sourced products and offers grab-and-go meals, all of which can also be bought online.
Maria Bonita Mexican Kitchen
The menu features popular Mexican dishes like quesadillas, chimichangas, tacos and desserts like flan and tres leches cake.
Snakes & Lattes
Short ribs, burgers and pozole are a few items on this cafe’s menu, located at 988 E. University Blvd. in Main Gate Square.
Snakes & Lattes also offers cocktails, beer, and wine but what makes this Toronto-based chain special is the selection of more than 400 board games available to play while guests sip and eat.
The Barnyard Crafthouse & Eatery
The Barnyard‘s burgers, pizza, wings and other American staples can be enjoyed in its outdoor dining area or inside the restaurant that was formerly an actual barn house, located at 11011 E. Tanque Verde Road.
Pops Hot Chicken
You may recognize Pops Hot Chicken as the popular Tucson food truck, but now it has a new location at 600 N. Fourth Ave.
The new shop offers a larger menu, including brunch options like chicken biscuit sandwiches, and a bar.
This small new coffee shop is right under the dome of the historic Pima County Courthouse at 115 N. Church Ave.
5-to-Oh! Coffee, a play on southern Arizona’s area code, serves hot and cold coffee drinks, teas and daily snacks like hummus and pita, muffins and croissants.
Fullylove’s shares a marijuana-friendly space with Arte Bella, a “puff-and-paint” studio, located at 340 N. Fourth Ave.
Burgers, wings and several desserts are a few of the offerings Fullylove’s has for anyone with a case of the munchies.
Deliciocho, 6308 S. Nogales Highway, is one of the newest spots in Tucson to grab some raspasados on a hot day.
The mom-and-son-owned shop also sells tacos, tortas, Mexican street corn and several desserts…churro ice cream sandwiches, anyone?
This new Italian-American restaurant, at 6502 E. Tanque Verde Road, incorporates Tucson’s Southwest flare into its pastas, pizzas and desserts.
Sakari Sushi, 2962 N. Campbell Avenue, is one of the newest spots in Tucson to grab your favorite sushi dish, whether that is an Arizona roll or a Red Dragon roll.
This sushi restaurant also offers several kinds of lo mein, soup and fried rice if those are more your speed.
Dillinger Brewing Company
The former Coronado Hotel has become the Dillinger Brewing Company‘s second taproom in Tucson, located right off Fourth Avenue at 402 E. Ninth Street.
The beers, ciders, wine, cold brew coffee and kombucha offered here can be drank inside or on the patio of the new taproom.
Fun fact: There is an arcade game table inside the taproom where visitors can play classic games like Pac-Man.
Noodleholics‘ first shop opened on Grant Road back in 2018 and has since opened an Oro Valley location at 7850 N. Oracle Rd.
The new Oro Valley spot has a larger kitchen and a patio dining area for noodle-lovers in the area who might not want to make the trek down to midtown.
Tuk Tuk Thai
The Oro Valley Marketplace got a taste of Thai food in May when Tuk Tuk Thai opened its new location at 12125 N. Oracle Road.
This new store features the same menu items as Tuk Tuk Thai’s 2990 N. Campbell Ave. location, such as the Khao Soi coconut curry noodles, which ThisIsTucson’s Andi Berlin said “are a must.”
La Estrella Bakery
The Franco family, who opened their flagship bakery in the ’80s, is putting this new location in Barrio Hollywood where their Tucson roots began.
This new pizzeria “born in Tucson, inspired by Detroit” at 4603 E. Speedway Blvd. comes from the minds of William and Travis Miller, the brothers behind Tucson’s Serial Grillers.
The duo opened the doors of Transplant Pizza this summer right next to Craft, A Modern Drinkery, a taproom which they also run.
Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink
You may be familiar with Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink‘s popular downtown location at 101 E. Pennington Street, but now you have the chance to grab a pie and a cocktail up north.
Reilly’s second location opened Aug. 1 on Tucson’s northwest side at 7262 N. Oracle Road.
Salad and Go
Salad and Go has over 30 locations in Arizona and now Tucson’s first is open at 5501 E. Speedway Blvd.
Although the name says “salad,” you can also grab breakfast burritos and seasonal soup there. Another Tucson location is planned to open later this year at Tucson Marketplace.
This luchador-themed spot at 919 N. Stone Ave. had its grand opening at the end of August, which featured a car show and live wrestling.
Buena Vida‘s menu offers a variety of tortas, loaded “Lucha Fries,” Sonoran dogs, and salads with a Mexican cuisine-inspired twist. They have indoor and patio seating and offer carry out as well.
The popular Oro Valley gastropub, Noble Hops, opened up a new location this summer at the DoubleTree by Hilton at Reid Park, 445 S. Alvernon Way.
Noble Hops’s new spot offers mostly the same menu items as the original location, in addition to craft beers and cocktails.
Perché No Italian Bistro
Meaning “why not?” in Italian, Perche’ No opened this fall in the former Caffé Milano space downtown at 46 W. Congress St.
Some of the new Italian bistro’s menu items include pesto ravioli, lamb lollipops, spaghetti puttanesca, and calamari fries.
Black Rock Coffee Bar
Tucson recently welcomed a Black Rock Coffee Bar store at 1821 E. Broadway Blvd., where customers can stop in or use the drive-thru to grab their favorite javas, teas, energy drinks, and smoothies.
This is the first of at least four locations the Portland-based company plans to open in Tucson.
This new coffee truck opened just in time for pumpkin spice latte season and you will most likely see it at various locations across Tucson.
EspresSoul Cafe’s honey lavender espresso, cookies and cream frappes, and fruit smoothies are some of the items available at the traveling cafe. To see where they will be stopped next, check out the EspresSoul Facebook page.
Bubbe’s Fine Bagels
If you have been looking for a locally-owned place to grab a bagel and schmear, look no further than Tucson’s newly-opened Bubbe’s Fine Bagels at 1101 N. Wilmot Road.
If you happen to come across the framed photo of Barbra Streisand inside the shop, make sure to say “Hello, gorgeous” before chowing down on a bagel sandwich.
Thunder Bacon Burger Co.
This new burger joint at 621 N. Fourth Ave. is the newest venture of Lindon “Lindy” Reilly, who founded Lindy’s On 4th.
Several of Thunder Bacon Burger Co.‘s burgers feature the flavors of the Southwest, specifically roasted green chiles and chorizo, and of course, they all have bacon.
Little Love Burger
Downtown Tucson welcomed another burger-centric restaurant this fall, this time at 312 E. Congress St.
Little Love Burger, brought to us by the minds behind Playground Bar & Lounge and Hub, opened in October in the former Diablo Burger location.
In addition to burgers, the menu here offers hot dogs, chicken sandwiches and a full breakfast menu.
8 Degrees Ice Cream and Cookies
If you get a sweet tooth while shopping at St. Phillip’s Plaza or grabbing a drink in the center courtyard, 8 Degrees Ice Cream & Cookies is just a few steps away.
The new ice cream shop at 4320 N. Campbell Ave. gives you several options of ice cream flavors, toppings and cookies (including vegan-friendly ones) to design your own ice cream sandwich.
You can also choose one off the menu or buy cookie dough to bake at home.
Meyer Avenue Cafe
Wow Wow Lemonade Stand
This Hawaii-based all-natural lemonade shop, which has a drive-thru, recently opened at 7705 N. Oracle Road in Oro Valley.
Some of Wow Wow‘s colorful lemonade flavors include strawberry mint, lava flow, and lavender blackberry. The menu also features health-conscious treats like smoothie bowls, avocado toast, and flatbread sandwiches.
The Jackrabbit Lounge
This new retro-themed bar is bringing drinks, live music, drag-queen-hosted trivia nights, karaoke, and an Instagram-worthy atmosphere to 2000 N. Oracle Road.
Adult bourbon-infused milk shakes and Old Fashioneds can be found on The Jackrabbit’s menu, along with shareable dishes like cauliflower fritters, mac ‘n’ cheese, and spicy Korean-style meatballs.
Flaps and Racks/Acai Paradise
Jeffrey Flores and his wife/business partner Auxi Navarro are bringing twin restaurants Flaps and Racks and Acai Paradise to 3253 E. Valencia Road.
This Taiwanese tea house opened as Tucson’s first location in September at 2739 E. Speedway Blvd.
Ding Tea offers trendy milk and boba teas, as well as fruity, flavored teas and slushies. Their full menu can be found here.
Fiesta Filipina got its start as a food truck a few years back, but now has a spot inside the Park Place Mall food court, at 5870 E. Broadway Blvd.
Filipino food can be hard to find in Tucson, but Fiesta Filipina offers some classic dishes like lumpia, pancit rice noodles, chicken and pork adobo, halo-halo and dinuguan, a pork blood stew.
Buendia Breakfast & Lunch Cafe
Buendia Breakfast & Lunch Cafe opened in November at 2530 N. First Ave., where the now-closed Asian Sofrito used to operate.
Contact reporter Gabriela Rico at [email protected]