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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    HUB pricey but tasty

    Ginny Polin
    Ginny Polin/ Arizona Daily Wildcat- The Hub, a new restaurant and ice creamery located at 266 E. Congress, offers homemade ice cream with special flavors including a bourbon almond brittle ice cream. Displayed here are strawberry, chocolate,salted caramel and troupe 54 – which uses girl scout thin mints.

    One of my friends studying overseas asked on Facebook last week for suggestions of American dishes. He needed something that would impress his guests but was easy to make and, this being a potluck by and for international students, it had to be quintessentially American.

    If he brought his new friends and classmates to Tucson and they were looking for something similar, though somewhat expensive, while dining out, I would point them to HUB Restaurant and Creamery.

    Located one block west of Rialto Theatre and only open since last week, it’s easy to see why HUB is one of the more anticipated additions to the downtown area. From its bare brick walls that speak to the building’s history, to the menu that seems to be laid out by and for graphic designers, HUB caters to those who want a downtown restaurant that’s both comforting and contemporary. It’s like a 1950s diner that went through a makeover.

    That said, HUB isn’t necessarily exploring new frontiers with its menu of American classics. The rotisserie pork loin plate, for example, with its roasted potatoes and a vegetable mix featuring baby broccoli, is something that can be made at home.

    But the details distinguish HUB’s food from what most of us make in our kitchens: The moist pork loin is suffused with the flavor from a rub of garlic and herbs. The ciabatta bread in the porchetta sandwich is toasted just right with the caramelized onions melding with strips of pork. The freshly squeezed lemonade is not overly sweet and its tartness tastes genuine.

    While HUB’s focus is on roasted meats, vegetarians can still find comfort in the restaurant’s offerings. The vegetables are treated with a respectfully light touch. Even in a dish like pot pie, a carrot really tastes like a carrot.

    There were a few missteps during my visits to HUB. An order of French fries that were supposed to come with my porchetta sandwich had been forgotten and arrived lukewarm. HUB ran out of its in-house fruit punch … by lunchtime.

    All of this can be easily forgiven once you get to dessert. The standout at HUB is the ice cream, which is made on-site. Regardless of what I ordered, every spoonful was creamy and rich with no particular ingredient overpowering the others, which is no easy feat with flavors like honey ginger, salted caramel or oatmeal raisin cookie. Compared to the rest of HUB’s menu, the ice cream can be surprisingly adventurous. HUB has an ice cream bar set in the middle of the dining area, so diners and dates can easily stop in to share a few scoops or order a pint to take home.

    A check for just two entrées starts at $20, so HUB is not a place for those who are budget conscious or living with student loans. But the friendly and helpful staff, cozy atmosphere and late hours — the late-night menu has not yet been finalized — make HUB a good place to rest after a weeknight outing.

    With its arrival, HUB looks set to fulfill all sorts of ice cream cravings. Once it settles into the neighborhood, HUB’s comfort food may be able to help nurture the burgeoning nightlife in downtown Tucson.

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