I recently found myself pulling up to a brick building decorated with mid-century modern art in the heart of midtown Tucson. One would easily identify the art’s bright teal and burnt orange as Tito & Pep’s iconic colors.
The restaurant’s mesquite-fired cuisine focuses on flavors from Tucson and the Southwest. John Martinez, owner and chef, also pulls inspiration from his international travels and previous culinary experiences. On the menu, you will find a mix of fish, poultry and beef served with seasonal vegetables.
During the start of the pandemic, Tito & Pep switched gears to better-leverage their take-out traffic. Martinez achieved this by releasing a weekly menu!
I find this to be an engaging experience because I have the opportunity to constantly try new things. Each week is an exciting adventure that keeps me on my toes and wondering, ‘What will John serve this week?’
What I Ordered
After contemplating all of my choices, I settled on the Grilled Shrimp and the Ceviche Verde. The two dishes are prepared with shrimp from the Sea of Cortez.
Tito & Pep primarily sources their fish from Santa Monica Seafood, and the current menu’s seafood is from landings located in California and Baja California
Martinez said people often ask, ‘How can you have fish in the desert?’ His response is that high-quality seafood ultimately comes down to good sourcing.
This is my favorite dish from the summer, and I hope that Tito & Pep will bring it back one more time! In this summery dish, the Thai herbs on the grilled shrimp pair fantastically with the rice noodles and the tangy summer melon som tum salad.
What I loved about this Ceviche Verde is that it’s extremely light but flavorful. The tomatillo and jalapeño complement the creaminess of the avocado. Like the Grilled Shrimp entrée, you know you’re eating high-quality seafood.
The frozen summer cocktails were a collaboration between Martinez and the bar staff. One of the bartenders, Misha Tenster, lead the design. The Raspberry Frosé was incredible and strong! To my surprise, this wasn’t as sweet as I anticipated; I found the cocktail well-balanced in flavor and sweetness. I would 100% order the Raspberry Frosé again, and this is coming from someone who loves her dirty martinis.
While the restaurant isn’t open for dine-in, they are open for curbside and takeout. You can view their rotating menu online and place an order over phone. If you have any questions on what to order, feel free to DM @HappilyPinkBlog on Instagram.
Address: 4122 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85712
Hours: Wednesday – Sunday, from noon to 8:00pm.