Long-awaited Central was slated to open earlier this week in the downtown train depot serving American bistro cuisine; think rib-eye steak with hushpuppies, battered onion rings and corn dogs made with housemade sausage. Mark Economou, chef/owner, and his wife, Sonia, strive to make everything from scratch. Economou has cooked around town, including at the Gold Room for many years. Central is open weekdays for lunch and dinner and Saturday for dinner only. Call 623-1955 for reservations.
New: El Patron
Just when you think Tucson has enough Mexican restaurants, a different regional Mexican restaurant opens in a location that has been the scene of numerous restaurants, most recently Phoenician and once upon a time Bistro Boccata. El Patron serves Guadalajara cuisine and is owned by Kathryn Clark and Alejandro Garcia, while former Nonie owners Chris and Suzi Leonard work in the kitchen and bar, respectively. Clark wants people to feel like they're eating in their grandmother's kitchen, so they can linger over a meal where everything is made from scratch. Dishes unique to Tucson include pescado a la Veracruzana, shrimp with tamarind salsa and panela (Mexican brie). The house margarita is made from Jose Cuervo traditional tequila and fresh-squeezed lime juice. El Patron is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch and 5 to 10 p.m. for dinner, but on weekends, the bar stays open until 2 a.m. at 5605 E. River Road; 232-0127.
New: Sprouts Farmers Market
Sprouts is an Arizona-owned company that opened its first store in the Tucson/Oro Valley area on Jan. 30 at 7655 N. Oracle Road, in the new Oracle Crossing shopping center. Sprouts has no displays more than 5 feet high, so upon entering the store, you see everything, which includes 300 bulk items, local produce, gourmet meats and a deli, fresh seafood, vitamins and supplements. Be sure to enjoy the life-size recycled stainless steel sculptures by David Voisard, which infuse a bite of humor into your produce perusing.