Update: June 2017 Proper closed it doors. Martin Drug Co. has taken its place. We have not reviewed it yet, but we still like the outdoor bar atmosphere.
January 2014. For at least the past two years we have been aware that good things are happening in Downtown Tucson, and that includes many new restaurants and pubs.
Hub & Playground
Hub Restaurant & Ice Creamery and the Playground Bar & Lounge have been open since before the Modern Streetcar construction in the 200 block of East Congress. They are owned by the same fellow, Kade Mislinski, and he has done a fine job with both.
Monkey Burger was on 6th Avenue just North of Congress, but we understand they had to vacate because their landlord wanted to renovate the old building. Too bad. Their burgers ranked #4 on our List of the Best Burgers in Tucson. They had the best fries we have ever tasted. We presume that you can enjoy the same great Monkey Burger & Fries at the east Broadway location. We hope that in time they come back Downtown.
Then Diablo Burger opened last year in the 300 block of East Congress on the south side of the street opposite Hotel Congress. They ranked #5. Owner Derrick Widmark has a unique approach to the humble hamburger … grass-fed only beef on an English muffin. Neighbor Roy loved his DB. I was somewhat less enthralled, mostly because of the limited bun selection. I note that the Tucson Weekly reviewer wrote that the DB’s fries as “absolutely delicious”. In reality, they’re OK, but nothing to write home about.
Please Note: The trick with grass-fed only beef is it is VERY lean and if it’s cooked beyond medium rare it becomes dry and kinda tasteless. More about that in a moment.
And now comes Proper at the corner of 5th & Congress. As is typical when we are doing research for a dining review, we take other people with us. We all have to order something different so that we get a broad range of selections. On this particular Sunday, we six were scheduled to take the Sentinel Carriage Company historic tour of Downtown and the Presidio District at 1 PM.