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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Me, Josh and Mikey at Tucson’s The Hungry Fox

    Columnist Andrew Conlogue, arts writer Josh Weisman and cartoonist Mikey Agius are taking on Arizona one restaurant at a time, traveling the state to find the most interesting restaurants and share the adventures had in reviewing them.

    A quick Google of “Interesting restaurants in Tucson” turned up The Hungry Fox Restaurant and Country Store, an independent Cracker Barrel of sorts in the middle of urban Tucson. And thus we come to the review, where we’ll judge each restaurant by atmosphere, food quality, service quality and price, with a final, overall rating on a scale of one to five cats (short for categories).

    Atmosphere: 2 cats

    The atmosphere was the most disappointing part about The Hungry Fox. Aside from a homey looking sign, its facade looks like any other city building. Walking in revealed unexpected roominess, but also strange décor. Josh put it aptly, describing it as a hospital cafeteria, or a cafeteria that exclusively serves the elderly, except with more nutcracker soldiers on the wall. A booth adjacent to ours was separated by a small curtain, which was knocked over by the patrons beside us and created a socially hazardous moment of uncomfortable teamwork to get it up again. But the worst aspect was, perhaps, the lighting. Mikey was overcome by a sudden bout of sleepiness as soon as we were seated, and understandably so. It was the kind of lighting that makes you want to leave and definitely doesn’t make you want to eat. The menu itself was more interesting. You can order a slice of cheese on the side of anything for 79 cents, and the back of the menu has a helpful guide for the different ways to cook an egg.

    Taste: 3.5 cats

    Mikey had the first taste of The Hungry Fox’s fare by ordering a coffee (which surprised our waitress, who claimed we didn’t look like coffee drinkers). A bit of a coffee snob, he called it diner coffee, which wasn’t necessarily an insult. Mikey approaches such restaurants and their coffee with reasonably low expectations, and therefore is rarely disappointed. When the food arrived, the three of us together were able to capture the full range of The Hungry Fox’s breakfast options. Mikey opted for biscuits and gravy with an egg sunny side up, and an additional side of corn beef hash, I selected the French toast with a scrambled egg and bacon, and Josh chose a vegetable omelet and toast. Altogether it was a fine breakfast.

    The bread at The Hungry Fox is baked onsite, which is sold by the loaf in the country store. Josh shared a piece of toast with me, in which I detected a liberal amount of butter baked in (a huge plus for me, though admittedly not for all). The French toast was equally appealing, as were my eggs. I waited until my plate was clean to savor my one slice of bacon, served thick and crispy, just the way I adore it. Mikey was kind enough to share his corned beef hash with Josh, who had never tried it before. Needless to say, we made a convert of Josh, and Mikey, who favors the dish, said the hash was prepared to his liking. Josh was perhaps the most disappointed, as his attempt at eating healthy with a veggie omelet didn’t necessarily succeed. It was more an omelet with vegetables piled on top, and not very filling, to boot. The Hungry Fox is not the place for healthy eaters, but if comfort food is desired, then it’s an above decent option.

    Service: 4 cats

    We had no real complaints about the staff at The Hungry Fox. As Josh, a film student, put it, the people seemed like the type that would let you film a movie there and cater to you while you did it. Our waitress, an older lady with a kind smile, was conversational, engaging and delivered our food in good time. Our cashier was also politely talkative, and to her credit followed us gamely on our strange conversational tangents.

    They had Tootsie pops at the counter for a quarter, and I found one with an Indian shooting a star on the wrapper. Our cashier had shared my childhood obsession with tracking them down (legend has it some shops will give you a free lollipop if you redeem such a wrapper), which of course bonded us as much as restaurant patrons and cashiers may be bonded. The only suspicious interaction with the serving staff happened when Mikey asked if there was a “bonus” ingredient cooked in the bread, which our server interpreted as “bones.” She made the leap rather quickly, which made us suspect dark doings at The Hungry Fox. The nutcrackers didn’t help much with our suspicions, either.

    Price: 4 cats

    If the food sounds good, but you don’t have a lot of money, worry not. The Hungry Fox is the place to go on a budget. My entire meal, including the Tootsie pop, didn’t exceed $7. The three of us ate well on a bill that could easily have included just two at another restaurant, and half of that was Mikey’s sumptuous feast.

    Overall: 2.5 cats

    The Hungry Fox is worth a trip, emphasis on one. If unhealthy, good food is your game, and you don’t mind feeling like you’ve been put in a senior home with some kind of dark secret, then you’ll love it. And if you’re in the market for high quality country kitsch, you can do no better. Josh found “the caviar” of letter openers in the country store for only $2. Me, Josh, and Mikey enjoyed our time there, and may return if we get a hankering for good bread and biscuits.

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