Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

4th Ave. eatery gives poor service the bum’s rush

Citizen Staff Writer
Cheap Eats: Bumsted’s



What: Bumsted’s

Address and phone: 500 N. Fourth Ave., 622-1413

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, noon-10 p.m. Sundays

What was ordered: Patty Cake sandwich ($7.95), Green Eggs & Ham sandwich ($7.95) and a side of Sweet Potato Fries ($1.95 with any sandwich) for a total of $19.30, within our Cheap Eats goal of a meal for two for less than $20.

Comments: The rap against ‘Sted’s has never been about the food.

The imaginative and downright bodacious sandwiches are consistently impressive – loaded with quality ingredients and nice, little details.

The sticking points for me and more than a few other loyal fans of Bumsted’s had been one or both of the following:

• The service, which often ranged from sketchy to infuriatingly flippant;

• The frequency with which the aforementioned servers would return to your table to say “Dude, we’re all out” of what you had ordered minutes (sometimes tens of minutes) earlier.

These shortcomings never stopped me from coming, and somehow had actually become endearing, a kind of involuntary branding that gave ‘Sted’s its signature. That’s why it’s with something of a heavy heart I report that the service and organization at Bumsted’s have taken startling and significant turns for the better.

On my latest two visits, my companions and I enjoyed excellent, timely service, not to mention everything we ordered down to the last, little detail with no substitutions. If this is how Bumsted’s is now doing business, they’re going to need to either take over the adjacent unit or move to a bigger location before too long.

The Green Eggs & Ham sandwich on my last visit was gargantuanly good. Loaded with mild, fresh-made egg salad, thick-sliced peppered bacon, cream cheese, lettuce and tomato, it’s a powerhouse BLT and Egg Salad sandwich all in one with a surprisingly demure and soothing flavor profile given it’s hulking stature.

My companion opted for the Patty Cake, which featured a 2-inch slab of meatloaf, “loaf sauce” and mayo on grilled bread (he went with wheat). The loaf and sauce were sweet and slightly spicy, along the lines of mild BBQ sauce, which nicely complemented the salty, rich ground beef.

As good as the sandwiches were, they were outdone by ‘Sted’s famous Sweet Potato Fries. Fresh-cut jumbo spuds julienned and fried to a crunchy, maroon sheen, these may well be the best fries (or Pommes Frites for that matter) to be found in these parts. I don’t even like sweet potatoes, but after tasting the way their sweetness plays off the salt, fries made from plain-old spuds will never measure up. The fries are $1.95 with any sandwich, but I highly recommend opting for the gigantic stand-alone order ($2.95) as an appetizer to share or take home with you.

Bumsted’s also has a comfortable bar, a “micro-arcade,” and a 750-gallon saltwater aquarium, which I would enjoy much more if it contained fish you could actually point to and have battered, fried-to-order and shoved between two slices of sourdough. Given the dramatic upgrades in service and consistency, that’s about the only improvement I could suggest for this Fourth Avenue favorite.

Bar: Full

Children’s menu: Yes

Web site: bumstedstucson.com

Most recent health inspection: A “Good” rating Oct. 6. A critical violation was reported for potentially hazardous cooked foods not held at 130 degrees or above.

Cheap Eats: Bumsted’s

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