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Dove Mountain Grill now Lo Esencial

The former Dove Mountain Grill in Marana is now a back-to-basics Mexican restaurant.

The owners opened Lo Esencial (Basics) just before Christmas at 12130 N. Dove Mountain Blvd.

The restaurant features small plates of traditional Mexican cuisine including soft tacos, burritos and tortas. Specialty items include fish tacos, carne asada and pork that’s slow-roasted in Coca-Cola.

Prices run from to ; a giant burrito runs , and manager Chris Leonard of Nonie Restaurant fame said it’s the “biggest thing you’ve ever seen in your life, as far as food goes.”

“I’ve never seen one person eat it,” he said. “I’ve seen two people split it or one person eat half and take it home. It was kind of like a joke at first, but people are loving it.”

Dove Mountain Grill, which was started by the folks behind the Foothills restaurant Vin Tabla, closed in late August after nearly five years in business.

Lo Esencial is open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays; closed Mondays. Details: Call 579-8999.

St. Philip’s Plaza eateryto Open this month

The wine-centered, Spanish-themed Bodega Kitchen + Wine in St. Philip’s Plaza is set to open Tuesday.

Bodega, 4340 N. Campbell Ave., specializes in mostly small plates influenced by Spanish cuisine. Prices were not finalized by press time.

Bodega — Spanish for wine shop and the name commonly used to describe neighborhood fresh grocers along the East Coast — will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays. Brunch will be served beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. 

The restaurant, which takes the place of Liv Cafe + Bistro, is owned by Alek Comyford, who also is property manager for St. Philip’s Plaza. Liv closed last fall.

Liv’s former executive chef, Emily King, will run the kitchen.

Follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/BodegaWine for updates.

Potbelly SandwichShop goes for hat trick

Chicago-based Potbelly Sandwich Shop is set to open three Tucson restaurants between May and July.

Company officials said they plan to open their first location on East Broadway at North Craycroft Road in May. Another restaurant is expected to open in June at North Oracle and West Roger roads, and the third will open in the University of Arizona area in July.

A company spokesman said she didn’t have the exact addresses.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop was born in Chicago in 1977. Today, it has more than 300 locations in 18 states and Washington, D.C.

Wildflower rollsout options for cause

Wildflower Grill is going to help you keep your New Year’s resolution to eat healthy.

Throughout January, the northwest-side restaurant is promoting its heart-healthy dinner options and will donate a portion of sales from those options to the American Heart Association and the 55th Annual Tucson Heart and Stroke Ball, to be held Feb. 15.

Executive chef Omar Huerta’s heart-healthy options include a Caesar salad made with kale and brussels sprouts and a steelhead served with sherry-glazed beets and arugula.

Wildflower, 7037 N. Oracle Road, in Casas Adobes Plaza on the southwest corner of Ina Road, is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

New entrees, happy hour items at Dante’sNine months into their culinary journey, the folks behindDante’s Fire Cocktails & Cuisine on East Grant Road are shaking things up.

Last Friday the restaurant, which specializes in small plates under tantalizing headings inspired by Dante’s epic poem “Inferno,” rolled out a full-sized entree section dubbed “Atonement.” There you will find a Kobe-style beef burger (), an ahi tuna nicoise salad (), a charcuterie plate () and house-made truffled pork canneloni.

Under “Anger” — the spicy section of the menu — owner Jon Tuck added a spicy baked shrimp salad.

On the cocktail side of the menu, Tuck is finally putting his favorite cucumber martini in black and white at the request of fans who’ve been begging since Tuck opened the restaurant in May.

To ring in the new year, Tuck also introduced a daily happy hour “7 for ” menu. From 4 to 7 p.m. daily and all day Sunday, you can choose from seven items including tuna tartar, lamb meatballs, chorizo sliders and Thai curry shrimp for apiece.

Dante’s also has a reverse happy hour from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily and drink specials for both happy hours, including off draft beers and specialty cocktails, bottled beers and and wines.

Dante’s Fire, 2526 E. Grant Road, is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesdays through Mondays; closed Tuesdays. Details: Call 382-9255.

Sonoran is 4th sense of place menu

Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails this week rolled out the fourth in its series of Sense of Place menus that spotlight the foods and culinary idioms of Southern Arizona and Sonora.

No. 4 debuted Tuesday at the restaurant, 135 S. Sixth Ave., focusing on Sonoran flavors. You can order it a la carte or go for a three-course meal for per person.

Chef-owner Janos Wilder’s menu includes a roasted corn-based appetizer (), pork carnitas and chorizo chilaquiles with a Native Seeds Search mole and poached egg entree, () and a mango pistachio cake with a blackberry glaze and candied local kumquats ().

Downtown Kitchen is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and until 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Cathalena E. Burch

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