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Weekend events, new restaurants cookin' Downtown

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Downtown Lowdown

Weekend events, new restaurants cookin' Downtown

  • Mixed-use developments are giving the eastern end of Downtown a new face.
    Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.comMixed-use developments are giving the eastern end of Downtown a new face.

Downtown's heating up, and the Lowdown will help you keep tabs on Tucson's temperature:

Since 2008, the beginning of the worst economic climate in recent memory, Downtown has seen over $206 million in private investment and more than half a billion dollars in public investment, creating more than 11,000 jobs. Local investors have brought more than 50 restaurants, dozens of retail stores, and Tucson's hottest nightlife — with more housing coming soon. Public investment has brought us a streetcar that will continue to attract development, and parking structures that increased the number of city-center parking spots to over 15,000.

Pizzeria Bianco, lauded by GQ and home of the best pizza in the United States according to Bon Appetit, is set to open Downtown, the Tucson Weekly reported. Owner Chris Bianco has been begged to open a location in cities across the globe, but said it was Tucson that attracted him. 

“I walked into the space and I saw the red brick and the good neighbors,” Bianco told the Weekly. "I'm just so excited."

A block or so east of the future home of Pizzeria Bianco will be the site of a World of Beer. The company announced they signed lease on the ground floor of Cadence, the new student housing project at Congress Street and 4th Avenue. Cadence will bring 289 beds and 19,500 square feet of ground floor retail to downtown. World of Beer, the first retail location to announce that it will open at the complex, is an global company whose website proclaims "by combining a friendly environment with an exceptionally knowledgeable staff, World of Beer creates an atmosphere where patrons feel at home, as if they are visiting a neighbor and not just a neighborhood bar."

Before we know it, three coveted restaurants - Proper, Diablo Burger, and Good Oak Bar - are expected to open near the Rialto Theatre on Congress Street. For years, Phoenicians have been waiting for Flagstaff restauranteurs Paul Moir and Derrick Widmark to bring their locally-sourced cuisine to Maricopa County, but the it was Downtown Tucson that attracted their attention.

Moir, who owns the acclaimed restaurants Brix and Criollo in Flagstaff, told the Downtown Tucsonan that Tucson won out over Phoenix because "if you are into the energy of a real downtown, as I am, Phoenix is a tough fit."

Score one, er, three for Tucson.

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