The Town of Marana has been the major farming and ranching area for Tucson for hundreds of years. It still has a lot of farmland, ranches, and open space. Now Marana is becoming known for its specialty agriculture that supplies local restaurants and craft breweries with high end ingredients. If you drink craft beer made in Tucson, it’s likely that you are drinking Marana-grown white Sonoran wheat, a four hundred year-old variety of wheat that has recently been revived. If you drink Whisky Del Bac, you are drinking barley grown in Marana. When you have a salad at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain restaurants, the greens are from a specialty grower in Marana.
Because Marana is a growing community with a reputation for top notch farming and beautiful scenery, it is attracting people who want to develop new unique craft breweries and restaurants, and many of the restaurants here are serving local craft beer. Quite a few popular restaurants in Tucson have opened second locations here.
The one-year-old Tucson Premium Outlets, located in the middle of Marana, has quickly become a popular shopping destination with visitors from all over the world and Marana’s surrounding restaurants are waiting to be discovered.
Gastropubs and Fine Dining
The Dove Mountain neighborhood is about five minutes away from the Tucson Premium Outlets and has upscale dining as well as upscale family-friendly options.
The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, the most highly-rated resort hotel in the state, offers a range of dining choices that are unparalleled in Southern Arizona. Even though it is a five star-rated resort, you do not need to be a guest to dine at any of The Ritz-Carlton’s three main restaurants.
Each of The Ritz-Carlton’s restaurants follows French haute cuisine standards and uses the freshest available seasonal and local ingredients.
Cayton’s Burger Bistro, at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain adjoining The Ritz-Carlton, is an American style gastropub famous for its gourmet burgers and milkshakes, and features local ingredients. If you are looking for family-friendly or casual elegance and incredible food, this is the place – and its cuisine and dining experience are presented by The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain.
Ignite is The Ritz-Carlton’s cozy and romantic gastropub lounge. It has an interesting menu, small plates, and features sushi every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. In addition to its signature cocktails, it also has locally made craft beer on tap.
CORE Kitchen and Wine Bar is The Ritz-Carlton’s elegant contemporary dining room and features the finest cooking and ambience you can find in Arizona. The menu changes, offering inspired seasonal experiences of classic cuisine.
If you are looking for a contemporary Italian restaurant and wine bar, Vero Amore features upscale Neapolitan food including authentic wood-fired Neapolitan pizza, seafood, and meaty pasta dishes, with extensive wine and cocktail selections.
Dove Mountain Brewing Co. has well-crafted casual pub fare with an emphasis on local flavors, paninis, sandwiches, and sides that go with beer, such as freshly baked thick pretzels served with special mustards.
Located on Silverbell Road, just minutes from the Tucson Premium Outlets, Li’l Abners Steakhouse is a vintage, one-of-a-kind place dripping with atmosphere as an authentic cowboy and Hollywood hangout from the 1940s, when Marana was the center of dude ranching and filming cowboy movies. It serves mesquite grilled “cowboy style” steak and ribs, cooked over an outdoor open flame, accompanied by salad, ranch-style beans, and Texas toast. The rustic atmosphere, with walls and ceiling loaded with memorabilia, tells of the many movie stars, rodeo stars, and Western music stars that have passed through.
Craft Brewing, Southwest Style
Catalina Brewing Co. is Marana’s first operating craft brewery and its creative brewmaster, Hank Rowe, showcases Marana-grown ingredients such as mesquite flour in its Mesquite Agave Ale and Twin Pole Mesquite Porter, as well as prickly pear fruit in the La Rosa Cream Ale which carries the rosy color of the Catalina Mountains at sunset, and pecans grown in the Santa Cruz River Valley for its Pecan Doppelbock.
Catalina Brewing Co. has about ten signature beers covering a range of tastes: from the Cañada del Oro Blonde Ale to their new Raspberry Chocolate Imperial Stout -- as dark and rich as they come. Their beer has very layered and wonderful flavors that you will not find anywhere else. Their Mesquite Agave Ale is a must to try because it celebrates and elevates the flavors of the Sonora. But why limit yourself? I recommend tasting each one because all of their beer is delicious and unique. They are tucked away off Ina Road in a small industrial neighborhood that is worth finding. The brewery has a cafe atmosphere. It is a very welcoming and family-friendly place. There are also two Spanish speakers on staff.
Dove Mountain Brewing Co. features dozens of craft beers on tap from breweries all over Tucson and Marana including Barrio Brewing Co., Borderlands Brewing Co., Catalina Brewing Co., Dragoon Brewing Company, Sentinel Peak Brewing Company, Ten Fifty-Five Brewing, 1912 Brewing Co., and others.
The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain has its own signature beer, Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain IPA, made by Barrio Brewery in Tucson. This special beer is a blend between the Barrio Blanco IPA and the Barrio Grapefruit IPA. The Blanco has a malty understructure and is fermented with hops, providing a crisp but hoppy flavor. The Grapefruit IPA has grapefruit juice added to give it a complex but refreshing flavor. The two blended together creates a refreshing flavor and an amazing citrus finish.
We are expecting new craft breweries to open in 2017, including one being launched by a brewmaster for one of the best-known breweries in Tucson.
Visitors will appreciate the Dove Mountain area’s unbelievably gorgeous views, upscale dining, and resort ambience as well as hiking and biking trails; Tucson Premium Outlets for designer brands; and Catalina Brewing Co., which has quickly gained a cult following in the community. Li’l Abner’s offers an authentic one-of-a-kind Old West experience that is a favorite with locals – some of whom might be ranchers – who fill the place every night.
For more information on Marana please visit: DiscoverMarana.com.
Where to find:
Dove Mountain area
Dove Mountain Brewing Co. – Casual gastropub featuring local craft beers. Casual and family-friendly.
12130 N. Dove Mountain Blvd. Marana, AZ 85658
10am-10pm: Sat, Sun
Vero Amore Authentic Neapolitan Pizza – Upscale casual Neapolitan Italian cuisine and wine bar, no kids menu, extensive wine selection, cocktails.
12130 N Dove Mtn Blvd #104, Marana, AZ 85658
11am-9pm: Mon-Thur, Sun
11am-10pm: Fri, Sat
The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain Dining
15000 North Secret Springs Drive, Marana, AZ 85658 United States
Cayton’s Burger Bistro – family-friendly with gorgeous views, unmatched food, upscale resort casual
The Golf Club at Dove Mountain
Lunch: 11am-4pm, 7 days a week
Dinner: 5pm-8:30pm, Wed-Sat
Ignite – upscale gastropub/bar with sushi Thur, Fri, Sat.
11am-close: 7 days a week
CORE Kitchen and Wine Bar – the finest contemporary dining in Southern Arizona, featuring regional and Marana-sourced ingredients with a seasonal menu. Upscale resort casual.
Reservations are recommended, please call (520) 572-3000.
Breakfast: 7 days a week
Dinner: 5:30pm-9pm, 7 days a week
Wine Experience 5-6pm, Fridays
Li’l Abner’s Steakhouse – Authentic rustic cowboy steakhouse and Old Hollywood hangout, kids menu, full bar.
8501 N Silverbell Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743
Ina Road/Thornydale Road area:
Catalina Brewing Co. – Innovative craft beer made with locally-sourced ingredients, very casual, family-friendly environment, games, occasional food trucks.
6918 N Camino Martin #120, 85741
Wed & Thurs: 4-9 p.m.; Fri: 4-10 p.m.; Sat: 12-10 p.m.; Sun: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Mon - Tue: Closed