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A slice of the downtown late night food scene

Posted at 9:15 PM, Jan 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-28 00:11:50-05

When downtown Tucson lights up, and the lines start to form, Joseph Alexander Murrieta fires up his grill, to give Tucsonans a taste of Los Angeles. He makes a special kind of hot dog, and sells a few other foods as well.

"The style we make originated in West Hollywood," he said. 

Some people say his food cart, "Yummy Doggz y Mas," is a staple, when it comes to downtown Tucson's late night eats.

"We hear people walking down the street, going, 'Yummy Doggz!'" he said.

He runs the business along with his wife and two daughters. For the past five years, they've occupied the street corner behind Hotel Congress, on 4th Ave. and Congress St, on Friday and Saturday nights. They set up shop around 8:00 p.m., and often don't go home until well after 3:00 a.m.

"There's a lot of really hard work behind the scenes that goes on here," Murrieta said. "You can't be lazy at all."

The owner says it's worth all of the hard work, and they make more than people may think.

"You can make anywhere from $600 to $1,500 on a good night," he said.

Since he opened his food cart five years ago, he says the downtown area has undergone a transformation. With more and more businesses setting up shop, he is proud to be a part of the culture.

"Being able to watch this all go up is pretty neat," Murrieta said.

In 2017 alone, he saw a the new A.C. Hotel by Marriott rise up, and nearly 50 new businesses open up downtown, according to the Downtown Tucson Partnership.

While most of the restaurants close their doors around 10:00 p.m., that's when his business starts to pick up. However, he does admit that many of his customers are hungriest around 2:00 a.m., when the bars close.

"We serve a purpose here," he said. "We're not just somebody who just set up, spur of the moment or anything. We're supplying a need for people here, you know?"

As is the case with many Tucson businesses, he relies heavily on students. However, he says he's happy to serve anyone who comes by for a bite to eat.