Once 2017 rolls around, the Downtown Tucson Partnership will have a new way for people to explore the up-and-coming Downtown Tucson restaurant scene. CEO Kathleen Eriksen says it will show locals how many diverse options they have, and will also drive the economy forward.
However, it's not a new app, it's not a new technology -- it's actually taking a step back to basics: it's a restaurant guide and map.
"This is a brand new downtown," Eriksen said. "Something that Tucson and people from beyond the region are coming to enjoy."
Her plan is to promote a new image for Downtown Tucson, which in her eyes, starts with the restaurants.
"The culinary field in the downtown is just exploding," the CEO said. "So we really want to highlight what we're really good at, and that's eating and culinary delights."
This new guide will have a comprehensive list of all of the restaurants downtown, with a map pointing them all out. The CEO says it will help both locals find out more about certain restaurants, and will also help visitors see how many options they have.
One restaurant already on board is La Cocina.
"It's brilliant," owner Jo Schneider said. "I think it's the right thing to do for downtown Tucson, and I think the Partnership is the right people to do this guide."
Owner of the restaurant for 6 years, Schneider believes the Tucson "food scene" is at it's best.
"Tucson's food scene has become as we know, world renown," she said. "So I think it's going to only help every single one of us in the restaurant scene."
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) noticed this too. In fact, Tucson became a UNESCO designated "world city of gastronomy," the first one in the United States.
With Tucson's food scene on the international menu, Eriksen people are coming to try it for themselves from all around the state.
"It's attracting people, and then once they're downtown, they're seeing other businesses that are here," she said. "And they're seeing what a welcoming and beautiful -- and safe environment it is."
With this new "foodie image," combined with more and more restaurants sprouting up, Eriksen believes the downtown economy will jump forward in the years to come.