A pop-up restaurant where most dishes will be prepared with ingredients grown within 100 miles of Tucson will take over the Zona 78 location on Tanque Verde Road for a couple of days at the end of the month.
Our Table: Farm to Fork is the brainchild of Kevin Fink, Zona 78's director of operations; Tavel Bristol-Joseph, general manager of the River Road location; and Paul Leather, GM at the Tanque Verde Road spot. Making dishes from scratch with local ingredients is something the business encourages. "Everyone's input and ideas are welcome, and it creates breakthroughs," Bristol-Joseph says.
Foodies will have the chance to experience the local food movement in action on Wednesday and Thursday, July 31 and Aug. 1. The majority of the ingredients for Our Table's menu comes from within a 100-mile radius of the city, and include food from local farms, foraged materials and even produce grown by Zona 78 employees. "It will be like they are sitting down at our table," Fink says.
The inventive dining experience will include nasturtiums (grown by employee-turned-gardener Kerrah Cutter), smoked bone marrow foam, and beet gel. "This isn't something we can do all the time," Fink says. "It's more work, and takes significant commitment, which is possible with a quick restaurant and limited choices." Specialty meats will be provided by Starbar Ranch and Hopkins Farm, and most of the vegetables come from Sleeping Frog Farms. Chiva Risa's bleu cheese will be served, and beer will be available from local breweries Ten-55 and Dragoon, with more breweries to be announced.
There will be plenty of vegetarian options to chose from and the majority of the dishes will be gluten-free. "We didn't intend it; it just turned out that way," says Fink, laughing. "It's what happens when you work with strictly local ingredients."
With the local restaurant scene growing, it's becoming easier for both foodies and chefs to find satisfaction in Tucson. And events such as farm-to-table dinners have the added benefit of helping draw more talent to the region.
Bristol-Joseph, for instance, moved to Tucson from New York specifically to get involved in our dining scene. "It's exciting as chefs to be a part of this scene," he says. "We're still learning, and we can't wait to push it further."