Oh, what a fabulous night. Edie Jarolim knew the chef at Proper Restaurant so us food writers, myself and Rita Connelly, were invited to the friends and family opening. Let’s hear it for elegantly-inspired industrial chic. Think high ceilings, exposed pipes, polished wood, scored concrete floors, plush colorful banquettes. Let the noise level ring.
Paul and Laura Moir, the owners of Proper, couldn’t be nicer. And they had positive things to say about the downtown restaurant owners…nice, friendly, welcoming. It appears they interviewed prospective employees across the street at Sparkroot. I love that the local restaurateurs are all welcoming vs. cutthroat.
Proper will be open for Sunday brunch as of Mother’s Day and then breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Proper believes in elegantly prepared food from fresh and local sources. Some menu items include curried lamb stew, pork belly sliders, leek gratin, Welsh rarebit mac & cheese, shrimp & grits, sweet pea risotto, fried rabbit, and more.
To the east of Proper will be a butcher shop. While many cities are ahead of Tucson on this curve, I believe this is the first in Tucson or at least downtown.
Lucky for us next to the butcher shop is Diablo Burger. Both Diablo and Proper are from Flagstaff. And Diablo just opened so we meandered over to eat burgers and drink beer. Diablo has a very casual vibe with deluxe picnic tables and a more bar-like setting. Again, the decibels are loud.
Every burger is made from 6 oz. of 100% local, open-range-raised, antibiotic free and growth-hormone free beef from the Diablo Trust ranches. Burgers are char-broiled medium rare (or any way you like it) and served on signature handmade preservative-free branded English muffins.
We shared two burgers — Blake (green chile-centric) and Vitamin B (bacon, beer, & blue cheese) plus a grilled cheese sandwich. For vegetarians — yes, there is a veggie burger. All come with fries and dipping sauces. Prices range from $9.75 to $13.75.
Our waiter Derek who said he’s not really a waiter said that everyone was thrilled to be here in Tucson and how friendly the other restaurateurs were. Music to my ears. Derek worked the room, asking people how their food was.
It was a pleasure to meet people associated with these two new local restaurants and I wish them great success. Two more reasons to come downtown.
Proper is located at 300 E. Congress Street.
Diablo Burger is located at 312 E. Congress Street