Oft-ignored eateries beckon bored palates

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Villa Thai is a new restaurant open on University Blvd above American Apparel. Villa Thai offers lunch specials such as half off a bottle of wine.


This one's for the freshmen who are growing tired of the Union and usual University fare. This one's also for people who aren't from Tucson and don't get out much, a little worried about trying to differentiate the divey-dives from the hidden gems. Fear not ladies and gentlemen, there are plenty of spots in T-town to indulge your appetites, but some take some work to find.



Mama's Famous Pizza & Heros

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4500 E. Speedway Blvd.



To walk into Mama's is to experience a pleasant miasma of subtle lighting and wafting garlic smells. The decorum is reminiscent of a mix between a classy circus and the royal palace of the Outer Rim planet, Naboo., and Blue Moon flows by the pitcher.



Don't overlook the wings (they're good); they make for a decent appetizer, but the pizza is the main event here. Oversized slices require you learn a myriad of embarrassing techniques to keep the cheese from getting anywhere but your mouth.



The wait is pretty average, considering they're making you a pizza from scratch. The staff is always friendly, and enjoys making jokes behind the ovens loud enough for customers to overhear.



Typical Meal Cost:



By the slice: $7-8



Whole pie: $12-15



Vila Thai Cuisine



972 E. University Blvd.



Shame on you for not going up the stairs next to American Apparel, underclassman! The best restaurant on University is waiting for you up there, with delicious mint water. The seating is always a nice sight at night, as patrons are treated to the understated effect from the strings of lights surrounding the outdoor tables.



The eponymous pad thai is not to be missed. With 5 levels of generous spiciness, it makes P.F. Chang's pad thai taste like noodles with ketchup. Don't go any lower than 3 if you want the full effect of that spiciness on delicious sliced meat and thick rice noodles.



The wait staff is admittedly a little snarky, but if you humor their exaggerated swagger, they'll treat you well enough. The food's worth it regardless.



Typical Meal Cost:



Noodle and curry dishes: $9-10



Mama's Hawaiian BBQ



850 E. Speedway Blvd.



You've driven past it on Speedway and wondered if it's any good. Wonder no longer. The veil of your confusion is about to be lifted. For your information, Hawaiian BBQ refers to traditional plate lunches. That translates into American restaurant language as a big slab of meat, some white rice and macaroni salad. Tempting? Yes.



You have to understand what Mama's is not. Mama's is not healthy. Mama's is not super concerned with presentation. Mama's serves greasy food you should feel proud to lather in their teriyaki and katsu sauces with reckless abandon. Just go freestyle in there, don't be shy. That's why they come in boxes, so you can mix it all together and get at it with a big spoon.



They've got some tasty desserts there, too. Again, only appropriate if you aren't interested in keeping to your South Beach this month. If the description sounds totally disgusting, don't go. If it made you even a little hungry, get over there on the double.



Typical Meal Cost:



Plate lunch: $6-9



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