Two new restaurants and a beer and wine bar, all with Flagstaff ties, are coming to the Rialto block downtown.
Derrick Widmark, owner of the popular Diablo Burger in Flag, has chosen to open a second location at 312 E. Congress St.
He also has claim to a connecting space at 316 E. Congress St. where he plans on putting in what he is calling the Good Oak Bar.
In addition, an eatery called Proper, a "rustic, farm-to-table restaurant" that will offer brunch and dinner seven days a week, according to owner Paul Moir, is set to open at 300 E. Congress St.
Moir and his wife, Laura Moir own two restaurants in Flagstaff, the casual fine dining joint Brix and Criollo Latin Kitchen.
All three Rialto block establishments are set to open by next spring.
"We are excited," Widmark said. "I love the authenticity of Tucson. It is a place with a distinct flavor and vibe just like Flagstaff."
The original Diablo Burger opened in March of 2009 with an emphasis on local food sourcing.
Almost all of the ingredients used by Diablo are from Arizona.
The beef comes from ranches involved with the Diablo Trust, a Northern Arizona land management team where Widmark worked as a communications coordinator before opening Diablo Burger.
The bread and produce come from the Phoenix area.
"We take that local connection very seriously," Widmark said.
Diablo Burger has been trying to open a second location for some time, but not in Flag.
"We felt the business could grow, but it didn't make sense for us to open a second location in Flagstaff," he said. "One is the right amount for its size."
After several attempts in the Phoenix area, the opportunity came up in Tucson.
Widmark said the new restaurant will be similar to the original Diablo Burger.
Burgers will range from $9.75 to $12.75 and include the plain "no muss, no fuss" Monk burger and The Blake, which comes with Hatch chile mayo, roasted green chiles and sharp cheddar.
The Good Oak Bar will also emphasize local wines and beers, and will have a more laid-back environment than the fast turnover that Widmark expects with Diablo.
"The bar is going to be a place where you can come in and have a pint, watch a game," he said. "It will be a hangout place."
Widmark followed the Moirs to Tucson. They were originally looking for a restaurant space in Colorado when their broker mentioned the Rialto block.
Both Paul and Laura have spent time in Tucson. Paul studied business at the University of Arizona before transferring to Arizona State.
Laura also went to the UA, as well as Sahuaro High School. Her mom still owns a home in town.
"We love the community and its support for independent restaurants down there," Paul said. "It is a great market."
Like Diablo Burger, Proper will aim for local, sustainable ingredients.
Paul said the menu is still in its early stages, but to expect a seasonal focus with the choices changing four to five times a year.
"It will be based on whatever the farmers and growers are able to produce at the time," Paul said.