Diner Critique: Carmella’s Kitchen (Tucson, AZ)

Review | Written and photographed by Nathan Mattise

Directions | Web site | Overall Rating:  2

There seem to be two types of major travel experiences – tolerable and miserable. There are infinite factors helping to decide your trip’s fate. Flights can arrive on time, layovers can be productive (or at least short), your flights can be spent mostly sleeping (or at least reading without nausea), etc.

However, perhaps the most pivotal part of surviving a full day of travel is strategic eating. Eat something too heavy or too close to the flight and your stomach will suffer the consequence. Eat just a snack or some higher quality cuisine, and your wallet helps fund the airport.  The search for something filling but not crippling, averaged priced but not lacking in portion inevitably happens. So when in Tucson, enter Carmella’s Kitchen. 

Now Carmella’s is nothing unique. It’s pseudo-chain, airport food. No matter where you eat in an airport you’ll dream of something better. At Carmella’s seating is limited and will almost always be crowded. Menu selection is very limited (pizza, breakfast pizza and a few true breakfast options). The decor is almost like a convenient mart.

Despite  Carmella’s being normal flying fare in nearly every way, its food was surprisingly satisfying. I finished without any regrets.  The best deal on the board is a  2-item omelet with homefries for only $5.99 (with the traditional fillings to choose from – onion, tomato, sausage, bacon, cheese, etc.).  If you utilize the fact that Carmella’s doubles as a pizzeria and select pizza-like fillings (I opted for tomato sausage), you can also use the selection of pizza toppings to spruce things up. Hot sauce with a little garlic on the omelet, Parmesan cheese for the potato. The result is a  moist  and smooth omelet with a hard, flavorful side to compliment it. It’s the type of airport meal other onlookers see, ask about and then proceed to find it within the terminal just minutes later.

Overall, if the food you find during travel isn’t something you’re complaining to colleagues about afterwards, it’s done more than its job. Carmella’s may never be something you’d travel out of your way for, but it doesn’t get in the way of your travel either.

Final editor’s note: The rating may be low, but for what it is, this score is something Carmella’s can hang their hat on.

The Final Tab

Pros: Solid food, extra spice available, average price

Cons: Location, self-serve, limited menu and seating



Two out of Five (Just Eggs | Could’ve been better…)


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