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Eat Local: Hot pizza, cold beer and other pleasures

Good food and drink are among life’s best simple pleasures — especially when you’re talking about pizza baked to perfection or a cold brew shared with friends. Here are a few words about some of Tucson’s best purveyors of gustatory bliss.

Fresco Pizzeria & Pastaria

Mat and Britnee Cable, owners of Fresco Pizzeria & Pastaria, have two little girls, so family is their first priority — and motivation for the family-friendly food and atmosphere they’ve created at Fresco. Britnee moved from Phoenix to attend the University of Arizona and worked for renowned pastry chef Patrick Davis. Mat grew up around his family’s gelato and Italian ice business. He worked at multiple pizzerias before landing at Fresco, where his family’s entrepreneurial background continues to inspire him. Fresco is now 100 percent independently owned by Mat and Britnee. With the recent expansion, they are excited to experience what the future brings.

Mama’s Famous Pizza and Heroes

The story of Mama’s Famous Pizza and Heroes, a Tucson family tradition, is rooted miles away in New York City. When Joe and Eleanor Spina, aka Mama and Pop, retired from New York to Tucson in 1975, their children, Joe Jr., Vinnie and Kathryn, soon decided to join them. Trading the construction business for pizza, they successfully tested their restaurant concept in New York, moving west to open the first Mama’s in Tucson in 1981. Choosing a name was easy: the word “Mama” represents family, home and love. With quality food and energetic service, Mama’s, now with three Tucson locations, treats every customer like family.

Pionic Pizza & Pasta

At Pionic, owners Scott Sinclair and family have fun with their food. They love being creative so they offer an unlimited choice of toppings that they prep fresh daily. With over 40 to choose from guests can create anything they would like. Pionic offers pizza, pasta, salad, calzones, and even pasta on a pizza. They have a state of the art oven that cooks the pizzas at 800ºF so they are ready in as little as 90 seconds. Gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, no problem. Owners and staff make sure that at Pionic, everyone gets what they want. Join them today on Campbell between Grant and Glenn.

Tavolino Ristorante Italiano

Born and raised in northern Italy, where he learned his cooking skills from his mother and grandmother, Chef Massimo Tenino spent 10 years cooking in Los Angeles and San Francisco before moving to Tucson to open Tavolino in 2003. Tavolino’s menu of fine Italian cuisine, from antipasti to fresh pastas to a variety of entrée selections, includes pizzas from the wood-burning oven and rotisserie meats cooked in the Tuscan style over an open fire. The wine list, which showcases Italian classics and boutique wines, many available by the glass, includes selections by Pietro Rinaldi, Tenino’s family wine, made by his brother in Piemonte.

Tucson Hop Shop

David and Jessie Zugerman have had a passion for craft beer and home brewing since they met in college in 1997. Perfecting recipes, tasting rare and small batch brews, and sharing with family and friends became favorite pastimes. Returning to Jessie’s hometown of Tucson, they opened Tucson Hop Shop in Metal Arts Village to bring the craft beer movement from its downtown epicenter to a spot closer to their home. Its Urban Beer Garden is just the place to meet and relax with loved ones, learn a new hobby, peruse local art, listen to live music, and yes, enjoy a few delicious craft brews.

Vero Amore

Native Tucsonans Josh and Aric Mussman opened Vero Amore’s first location in March 2006. Descended from a long line of rabbis, they began cooking with their mother, Suzanne, who used cooking to teach them math when they were small. The brothers worked in food service in high school and college, and after a visit to a certified pizza restaurant in Seattle, their path was set. They were trained to make authentic Neaopolitan pizza in Italy and California and have been certified by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana’s American delegation, the VPN Americas, since 2006. They opened Vero Amore’s second location at Dove Mountain in 2008.