The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

87° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Cup It Up American Grill to bring healthy food to Main Gate Square this December

    Heather Newberry
    Cup It Up employees Veronica Lopez and Salvador Flores prepare food and serve customers at the restaurant’s Speedway location on Thursday, Sept. 8. Lopez says her favorite thing about Cup It Up is the variety of healthy options that they offer to customers.

    A new eatery will soon take over what used to be Silver Mine Subs.

    The restaurant, Cup It Up American Grill, found success in the Old Pueblo when it opened up earlier this year east of campus.

    Cup It Up focuses on providing each customer a hearty meal, whether it contains whole grains, superfoods, grilled greens or otherwise, according to Julian Alarcon, one of the managing partners and original masterminds behind the restaurant concept. The name comes from the model of the restaurant, where customers fill up a cup with fresh items, a sauce and various toppings, instead of being served on something like a sandwich.

    Related: Review: University Boulevard’s new bakery Woops! is as sweet as it sounds

    Alarcon conceived the idea behind Cup It Up with co-foundersJay Warren and Christopher Smith. He said the trio have been trying to open a location near the UA campus because he believed the restaurant would be a burgeoning business at Tyndall Avenue and University Boulevard.

    The menu is simple enough and similar to other quick service, DIY-type restaurants. The “cups” are one size, 32 oz, but you can also get your items in a “fresh box” if you like to have your food more spread out.

    Cup It Up prides itself on serving the best produce, antibiotic and hormone-free meat and free-range chicken.

    Related: 45 years later, Food Conspiracy Co-op still thrives on Fourth Avenue

    Along with bowls featuring chicken, pulled pork, short ribs, grilled shrimp or grilled portabella, Cup It Up serves three different salads, as well as mac-n-cheese.

    “We can get someone right through the line — if they know exactly what they want — in less than a minute,” Alarcon said. “It’s really that fast.”

    The team spent about four to six months at a Shamrock Farms test kitchen in Scottsdale, Arizona before they decided to open the University Boulevard location. Alarcon said they are already looking to expand Cup It Up’s menu, which will hopefully include breakfast by their third or fourth location.

    Alarcon said the University Boulevard location will feature Pepsi’s new Stubborn Soda machine, a draft machine offering unique drink options.

    “We’ll be the very first ones to carry it in Arizona,” Alarcon said. “There’s nothing else like it.”

    Cup It Up customer Matt Withrow, a personal trainer, said he likes the eatery’s concept.

    “It’s probably the quickest healthy food you can get in Tucson,” Withrow said, a personal trainer. “It’s good. I’ve come here like two or three times.”

    Along with him was Marion Matos, a fellow personal trainer from 3 Weights fitness, who said he enjoyed the restaurant’s citrus chicken with quinoa.

    “[Withrow] introduced it to me,” Matos said. “This is my first time. I ate the whole thing.”

    Alarcon said that this location already gets a lot of traffic from UA students and hopes they will check it out before the new campus location opens sometime around Dec. 1.

    The store is already planning to accept CatCash, and will feature a similar layout to the current Cup It Up location, but in a bigger space with more seating for busy students.

    Until then, Alarcon shared that Cup It Up has been selected as a caterer for IMG Sports, and will be out with their food at tailgates on Sept. 17 and 24.

    Follow Gretchyn Kaylor on Twitter.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search