Photo Credits: Pete Zarria & Bill Morrow [Flickr]

Photo Credits: Pete Zarria & Bill Morrow [Flickr]

From roadside trucks to a tortilla factory, tacos to tamales, go off the beaten track. Here are six places chefs Ryan Clark of Agustin Kitchen and Kris Vrolijk of Proper Tucson recommend getting “South of the Border” cuisine 60 miles north of the border. 

Photograph courtesy of Anita St. Market

Photograph courtesy of Anita St. Market

ANITA STREET MARKET -  “This is the place to find awesome tortillas. They are hand-stretched and served warm. It's in a little house and they have excellent red and green salsas in addition to the flour and corn tortillas. You can use them for enchiladas or tacos.” - Chef Kris Vrolijk
849 North Anita Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85705 | T: 520.882.5280

EL TORERO TUCSON  - "Look for the pink stucco building and try their cheese crisps con green chili which is served pizza-style. “This is real Mexican food with a Sonoran ambiance.” - Chef Ryan Clark
231 E 26th Street, Tucson, AZ 85713 | T: 520.622.9534

MOLCAS MEXICAN GRILL - "This is a food truck with prices that start at $2 and don't top $6. “It is a must for a Sonoran hot dog and a torta. You can't experience Tucson without it.”- Chef Ryan Clark
4207 S 6th Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85714 | T: 520.295.4466

ST. MARY'S TORTILLA FACTORY  - “This is a no frills place in an unassuming orange building just past the interstate. They have delicious birria, which is a braised stew and is vinegary and spicy. They sell really good red chile sauce by the quart. The food is great and they consistently have a pretty small line.” - Chef Kris Vrolijk
1030 W St. Mary's Road, Tucson, AZ 85745 | T: 520.884.1629

TACOS APSON - Owned by the son of the drummer of Los Apson, an Agua Prieta-based rock band. Look for the guitar logo on the sign and you'll know you're in the right place. “This is a classic little taqueria and their carne is awesome. They have a grill that’s on a chuck wagon and they roll it up and down with whatever they’re cooking. They cook it right in front of you and it's basically a sweaty little taco shop that you would find in Mexico. It's a cool experience.”- Chef Kris Vrolijk
3501 South 12th Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85713 | T: 520.670.1248

TACOS DE CABEZA - “This is a street vendor which you have to look pretty hard for it. It’s on the left of 12th Avenue as you go south. All of their tacos here are made from the cabezas, the head of the cow. You really can’t go wrong because they do one thing and do it right. Experience-wise this whole area is just a gem.” - Chef Kris Vrolijk
5231 South 12th Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85706 | T: 520.312.9328

Photograph courtesy of Agustin Kitchen

Photograph courtesy of Agustin Kitchen


Chef Ryan Clark of Agustin Kitchen

Executive chef and co-owner of Agustin Kitchen in Tucson, AZ. Formerly with Lodge on the Desert, Elements at The Sanctuary Resort and Canyon Ranch, he is a three time Tucson Iron Chef champion and two time World Margarita Champion. At the age of 23 he was named one of the Top Sixteen Junior Chefs in the US by the American Culinary Foundation. He is the author of the cookbook Modern Southwest Cooking.


Chef Ryan Clark describes Agustin Kitchen as '"classic American with an Agustin twist." They support over 50 local farms, ranches, brewers, wineries and purveyors. He recommends ordering the AK Tartare, made with local Wagyu beef, open farm raised eggs and house-made aioli. Also ask about their hard-to-find Mesquite Smoked Del Bac Whiskey.

AGUSTIN KITCHEN  - 100 S Avenida del Convento #150, Tucson, AZ 85745 | T: 520.398.5382
(Book a Table) |

Chef Kris Vrolijk of Proper Tucson

Chef Vrolijk is passionate about showcasing locally sourced products from area farms and ranches and makes his own charcuterie. He is also involved with Proper Meats + Provisions, a butcher shop in Flagstaff.

Everything from jam to churros to pork belly is prepared in-house. They work with local and regional farmers, ranchers, brewers, winemakers and vendors to bring you best from the Arizona bounty.

PROPER TUCSON - 300 E Congress Street, Tucson, AZ 85701 | T: 520.396.335
(Book a Table) |

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