Downtown welcomes yet another new eatery: Empire Pizza and Pub, at 137 E. Congress St. It's a casual place with chunky brick walls, pressed-tin ceilings, a handful of tables outside and more seating in the back room where the bar is. Expect pizzas—slices or whole—sandwiches, salads, wings and a small assortment of desserts. They're not serving alcohol yet, but an employee said the liquor license is expected to be approved in a couple of months. Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 3 a.m., Friday and Saturday. Delivery is available to a limited area until 9 p.m., daily; 882-7499; www.empirepizzapub.com.
Squeezing the fluorescent-pink juice from prickly pears can be a Technicolor nightmare, and you risk getting pricked by a million tiny needles in the process. Learn how to do it the stain- and pain-free way by stopping by the Santa Cruz River Farmers' Market for tips and cooking demonstrations from 4 to 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 5. The market is on the corner of Speedway and Riverview boulevards; 622-0525, ext. 242.
Who's the man? The guy who runs the outdoor grill at Super Carniceria El Herradero at 1305 W. St. Mary's Road, that's who. Not only is he out there from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., every Saturday and Sunday; he does it all while working over an open grill in the summer sun. Buy the meat inside, and the grilling is free; 791-3715.
Get the latest information on the local-food movement from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, July 31, at the Eckstrom-Columbus Branch Library (4350 E. 22nd St.). Representatives from Native Seeds/SEARCH, Caliche Garden, Tucson Community Food Bank and other groups will be there, and it's free; 594-5285.
Matthew Stricker, head chef of Monkey Burger, says the restaurant's downtown location is on track to open in mid-August in the old Burger City spot at 47 N. Sixth Ave. Stricker said the space has undergone a complete remodel, and one-third of it is now a bar area. He said the menu will be identical to the one at the original location at 5350 E. Broadway Blvd., Suite 128.