First of all, if you're reading this and you haven't read Jim Nintzel's cover story on the rush of new restaurants downtown, either flip forward (in print) or click over to it (for our digital friends). He's done a great job of capturing what's happening, largely at Congress and Fifth, and what to look forward to in the next few months. I had a meal at Proper this week (and hope to get to Diablo Burger before the end of the week) and they were already in fine form in their first week, serving up one of the best meals I've ever had in Tucson. While the whole transformation of downtown is a work in progress (and one that I still have some questions about ... Will the District survive on Congress? The Iguana Café can't stay there forever, can it? Wait, people are arguing that we need to save the Ronstadt Center?), standing on that corner downtown, it was great to see people down there, spending money and having a great time. With places opening up sporadically from now on, downtown is becoming a place you can just head to and figure out what you and your friends want to eat and have a wide variety of options to choose from. For me, that's progress.
Speaking of restaurants, there was an interesting discussion in our comment section last week about our review of the Toby Keith-branded restaurant in town. Rita Connelly apparently didn't hate the place as much as some of our readers think she should have and some people questioned why we're reviewing chains in the first place. Well, this week, we've got another chain in our Chow section, so expect that debate to pop up again. I tend to think it's worth reviewing some of these places, mostly because people clearly eat at these joints and deserve to have some idea of whether they're making a good or bad decision with their dollar. If we didn't have a deep focus on local places every day online, each week in Noshing Around and with 90 percent of our reviews, I would understand the criticism more. After all, we're not covering monthly specials at Subway or anything. Still, I get the point as well. You might not see another chain restaurant reviewed this year and when another place rolls into town, I'll certainly stop and think before assigning it to be reviewed.