Forget the Cafeteria

A student rates the best 10 places to go for lunch near Amphi High School.

Amphi is not famous to other students who attend high schools all around Tucson... except maybe for football. In fact, we would probably rank (and we often do) dead last on many categories of their "best" lists. Yet there is one special feature that stands out at every school and that other schools envy--at Amphi, its food.

Amphi is located in the heart of "food city"-- everywhere we turn, food surrounds us. No wonder even sophomores are allowed to go off campus for lunch. Not to mention that Sierra Vista Buena loves playing Amphi in sports more than any school in Tucson, not only because it is a sure win, but because it means they will have the best dinner of the season with so many restaurants to chose from.

The following is my personal list of the top 10 places to go for lunch. Please keep in mind that this list includes only restaurants around the Amphi area, stretching from River to Grant and Oracle to Campbell, and every place takes less than 40 minutes for dining in order to make it back on time for the next class. Also, every restaurant on the list was critiqued not only according to the taste of the food, but also for service, which includes time and cost.

Cost Scale
$: only one buck
$$: two dollars
$$$: three dollars
$$$$: four dollars
$$$$$: five dollars
$$$$$$: six dollars

10. Wienerschnitzel (on Oracle right behind Amphi) $-$$:

Forget the cafeteria and the car. Let's walk to the end of the green fence where Wienerschnitzel is conveniently located. Wienerschnitzel obviously got my vote for first in the category of service, taking just a few minutes to get your lunch and a hunk of change to pay for it. But let's not count their food out either; Wienerschnitzel has the best chili cheese fries around and you can often get them at a low price of just 99 cents. Those fries are even more perfect if your cholesterol is low or you're trying to gain some extra pounds.

9. Boston Market (First Avenue and Wetmore) $$-$$$$$$:

If you're craving chicken and your mom's homestyle cooking, Boston Market is the place to be. Their sides, including the cheesiest macaroni and cheese, are to die for and never fail to satisfy those urges. Perfectly juicy tender roasted chicken is not the only thing they have to offer; try their meatloaf, turkey, or pot pie one day instead. You will not be disappointed! And if you are a little low on cash and not as hungry, try one of their kid's meals for a little over $2.

8. Subway (corner of Oracle and Roger) $$-$$$$$:

Calling all Amphi Athletes! Subway is the perfect place to enjoy a light and not-so-greasy meal before a big game or match, or if you're just trying to watch your weight. Subway has always been a favorite of Amphi students because the subs are made right in front of your eyes and created with your input so it is always done exactly the way you like it. Try a deli-style sandwich if you are not too fond of the Italian rolls or not a big eater. And remember to bring your student ID, whether you go to Amphi or not, to get a free drink with your meal.

7. Baggin's (Oracle and Roger) $$$$$-$$$$$$:

These sandwiches might be a bit pricier then others, but they're definitely worth it! Winning "Best Sandwich in Tucson," Baggin's rings in at my number seven spot. Enjoy hot or cold gourmet sandwiches with your own favorite fixin's and your choice of bread. But don't stop there! Try one of their homemade salads, like the pesto linguine, along with strawberry or raspberry lemonade. If that's still not enough, how about dessert? Besides the free soft and chewy homemade chocolate chip cookie, try one of their sinful deserts like the oh-so-mouthwatering rum cake. My personal sandwich favorites are Baggin's Hopi Chicken with provolone cheese and the Unforgettable Baggin's, including turkey, cream cheese, mayo, bacon, sprouts, tomato and avocado, all on 12- grain bread.

6. Brueggers Bagels (Stone and River) $$-$$$$:

Brueggers will always be near and dear to me because not only is it healthy, there is so much to chose from. With about a dozen different bagels and cream cheeses each, the variations are endless. And if you feel a little crazy one day, create your own bagel sandwich by stepping into a whole new world of the bagel. Brueggers is also unbelievably great because the service is fast and the cost very low; a filling meal, which is your choice of bagel and cream cheese, is about $2. The other aspect that I love about Brueggers is that it is conveniently located right next to my favorite coffee shop, Starbucks, which holds my favorite drink ever, the Tazoberry with cream. So if you're craving both Starbucks and Brueggers, and believe me you will, have one of your buddies stand in one line while you stand in the other to make things quicker and to enjoy an unforgettable meal.

5. Nico's Taco Shop (Target shopping center at Oracle and Roger or at the corner of Fort Lowell and Campbell) $$$-$$$$$:

Heck, Nicos not only has my vote for a quick and tasty bite to eat for lunch, but also for breakfast, brunch, dinner and that afternoon or late-night snack. May I suggest fish tacos with lime, a California burrito, or that world famous Breakfast Burrito No. 1, which can be ordered at any time (none of that only served till 10:30 stuff). My personal favorites are the shredded beef, bean and cheese burrito and the veggie burrito. Don't forget to order horchata, a rice drink, with your meal.

4. Luke's Italian Beef (Fort Lowell and Stone) $$$-$$$$$:

This stuff is definitely mouthwatering, from the descriptions on the menu to the smell and viewing of the food, you can't help but drool as you fantasize about the first taste. Their Chicago-style sandwiches are something special. Luke's offers great taste, friendly service and reasonable prices. Just make sure to pack some Tums before going to lunch, because you don't want that heartburn acting up while taking that calculus test next period.

3. New York Burrito (on Campbell in the Albertsons shopping center) $$$-$$$$$$:

Talk about gourmet wraps! This is healthy fast food with an unbelievable taste and also a great place to go for vegetarians. Try one of their New York traditional "smothered" burritos or gourmet wraps like the marinated chicken. There are about 10 different giant tortillas to chose from, including tomato and basil and garlic and herb, and also different homemade salsas. Go during their Mini Lunch Special from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., when any mini-wrap and a fountain drink is only $3.85.

2. The Tucson Mall $$-$$$$$$:

The Mall earns the number two spot on the list because of its convenience and variations in food and cost. Whatever you and your friends might be hungry for, the Mall will probably have it and there will be no arguing on where to go since it has something for everyone. The taste might not be as good as some of the other places on the list, but the cost is good and everyone is happy. Some of the places in the mall include Chick-Fil-A, which to my mind has the best chicken in the fast-food industry, and Cozzoli's Pizza, where you can get the Amphi lunch special--a slice of cheese pizza, a roll and drink, for $2.86. If you have a little more cash to spend, stop at Panda Express, which holds the world-famous Orange Chicken, or Poco Loco Tacos, which has an excellent vegetarian burrito. And if you're not hungry, sit back and cool off with one of Tucson's own Eegee's drinks.

1. Sausage Deli (First Avenue and Grant) $$$-$$$$$:

No surprise that the Sausage Deli is the number one place to go for lunch while going to school at Amphi. These sandwiches are of the highest quality, thus making it Tucson's alternative to fine dining. As you will notice with the first savory bite, just about every ingredient tastes as if it was homemade. The Sausage Deli is definitely in a class of its own, with a premium taste and perfect flavor in every sandwich you order. Your taste buds will not be disappointed. When it comes to the perfect sandwich, there is no compromising. Try one of the many different sandwiches they have to offer in the Amphi or Salpointe Special, where you receive a sandwich, homemade macaroni, potato salad or cole slaw, a bag of Saguaro potato chips and fountain drink for only $4.89. Now if that's not a deal, I sure don't know what is! May I suggest their incredibly good roast beef or pastrami, with potato salad. If you have never been to the Sausage Deli, make sure that your next lunch will be there so you can discover for yourself what a sandwich should be.

Honorable mention:

Picurro Pizza (Oracle and Roger) $$$-$$$$:

Create your own slice with numerous toppings to chose from at Picurro Pizza.

Wendy's (Oracle in the Circuit City shopping center) $-$$$$:

Wendy's is the perfect place to go if you only have a buck or two; just choose something off the 99-cent menu!

Tokyo Rice Bowl (Oracle next to Roses and More) $$$$-$$$$$:

Enjoy huge portions of great Chinese and Japanese fast-food at an affordable price and within walking distance of Amphi.

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