Tucson, Arizona: Restaurants: El Charro

El Charro- A Tucson Mexican Dining Tradition

El Charro is Tucson’s Mexican Food and a family favorite for great value and delicious recipes. Established in 1922 by Monica Flin, El Charro Café has been called one of the Top 50 Plates in America by USA Today and One of the 21 Most Legendary Restaurants in America by Gourmet Magazine.

El Charro 100 Fastest Growing in U.S.

Tucson’s own El Charro Café has made the July/August 2009 Hispanic Business Magazine’s list of 100 fastest growing businesses, ranking #62 out of 100 listed.

El Charro Café and Family are proud of this recognition, although Marques Flores laughs; “hey, it only took 88 years to become on of the fastest growing companies!”, making light of their 88 year old family owned business.

El Charro Café recently opened their newest location in Oro Valley, AZ and has plans on adding new locations in 2010. El Charro can also be found at the University of Arizona Football Stadium.

Established in 1922 by Monica Flin, El Charro Café of Tucson, Arizona is The Nation’s Oldest Mexican Restaurant in continuous operation by the same family. Monica’s grandniece, Carlotta Dunn Flores and family, currently operate multiple Tucson-area locations of the venerable Mexican Food destinations.

Featuring traditional Sonoran-style and innovative Tucson-style Mexican Food, they are celebrating 85 plus years of taste and history, and have been called one of the Top 50 Plates in America by USA Today and One of the 21 Most

Legendary Restaurants in America by Gourmet Magazine. El Charro Café is also proud to announce that they are the Gold Medal Winners of Tucson Lifestyle’s Reader’s Poll as Best Mexican Food Restaurant in Tucson for 5 years running and can be seen regularly on the History Channel and Food Network!

Fiesta de la Musica Live Music Series live every weekend

Tucson favorite El Charro Café announces the start of their NEW Fiesta de la Musica Live Music Series at select locations (see attachment), a great new value of live music every weekend featuring some of Tucson’s most talented local musicians.

El Charro opens in Sahuarita

El Charro Café Rancho Sahuarita opened in the Rancho Sahuarita Marketplace and Village at 15920 S. Rancho Sahuarita Road. The 4,500 square foot restaurant has an indoor-outdoor bar, retail space and a patio. The restaurant will be similar to the two newer café location at 7725 N. Oracle Riad and 6910 E. Sunrise Drive.

Sir Veza's Taco Garage opened by the Flores family

On the northwest corner of Swan and Speedway, a new casual concept Mexican restaurant has opened. Sir Veza's Taco Garage, 4699 E. Speedway, is a sit-down restaurant which specializes in low-priced Mexican food, hamburgers and sandwiches.

New menus from El Charro

El Charro also will be rolling out new menus featuring delicious new recipes by Chef Carlotta Flores including new Grilled Salmon Tacos, Chicken Adobo, and a new Saturday Barbecue promotion that will turn every El Charro into a family barbecue setting complete with such Sonoran favorites as Birria, Roasted corn on the cob, and Frijoles Elegantes. El Charro will also be continuing their great kids under 10 eat free weekends and Teacher Tuesdays where all teachers get to have a 2 for 1 offer every Tuesday of every week!

El Charro joins with Metro Restaurants

Ray Flores, owner of El Charro restaurants and Bob McMahon of Metro Restaurants, have agreed to partner with each other. The El Charro concept will continue. There are five El Charro restaurants in Tucson and six Metro Restaurants. Since 2004, McMahon and Flores have been partners at two El Charro restaurants- Speedway at Swan Road and Orange Grove at Oracle Roads.

El Charro Café is "legendary"

Gourmet magazine recently named Tucson's downtown El Charro Café as a local legend- one of 20 restaurants in America, according to its October 2008 edition

The Story of El Charro Restaurant

It may come as something of a shock to fans of El Charro Cafe , Tucson's famous Mexican restaurant, that its origins are more French than Spanish.

Monica Flin's parents, Jules Finn and Carlota Brunet, both came from French stock, but when she opened her restaurant in Tucson in 1922, it was Mexican food she chose to serve her customers.

The restaurant has moved several times since its founding, but it has remained a family business.

El Charro's southwestern cooking relies on chilies, garlic, rice, corn, and a seasoning mixture called pico de gallo, a spice rub used much the same as voguish Cajun blends. It also calls for sun-dried beef, impossible to duplicate outside Tucson, but for which the book offers a complex method of creating a substitute. El Charro's salsas and stews are more readily duplicated, especially for those with access to Mexican produce markets. (From Booklist, Mark Knoblauch: El Charro Cafe: The Tastes and Traditions of Tucson).

Purchase authentic, official El Charro salsa, books and posters online from Amazon.com:

El Charro Picante Verde Salsa (Hot)

Authentic salsa from El Charro Cafe in Tucson, AZ.

Ingredients: Crushed tomatillos (tomatillos, citric acid), water, salsa (onions, salt, garlic, white vinegar, canola oil, oregano), citric acid. Hot. 13 oz. Purchase El Charro salsa online: El Charro Picante Verde Salsa (Hot)

El Charro Salsa Basico (Mild)

Authentic salsa from El Charro Cafe in Tucson, AZ.

Ingredients: Crushed tomatoes (tomatoes, salt, citric acid), water salsa (onions, salt, garlic, white vinegar, canola oil, oregano), tomato puree (water, tomato paste, citric acid), citric acid, Mild. 13 oz. Purchase salsa online: El Charro Salsa Basico (Mild)

El Charro Salsa Picante (Medium / Hot)

Authentic salsa from El Charro Cafe in Tucson, AZ

Ingredients: Crushed tomatoes(tomatoes, salt, citric acid), water, salsa(onions, salt, garlic, white vinegar, canola oil, chiltipin pepper, oregano), tomato puree (water, tomato paste citric acid), citric acid. Medium / Hot. 13 oz. Purchase salsa online: El Charro Salsa Picante (Medium / Hot)

El Charro Restaurant, Tucson, Arizona, USA Photographic Poster Print

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Product Dimensions: 16 x 12 x 16 inches

Purchase poster online from Amazon.com: El Charro Restaurant, Tucson, Arizona, USA Photographic Poster Print, 12x16

Tucson Entertainment Magazine

El Charro Restaurant Tucson, AZ Locations:

The Original El Charro
Historic Downtown Tucson
311 N. Court Avenue, 520-622-1922

El Charro @ The UofA

El Charro Catering: 520-792-9922

El Charro Downtown - El Presidio
311 N. Court Avenue, 520-622-1922

El Charro Café East Broadway @ Wilmot
6310 E. Broadway, 520-745-1922

El Charro Ventana Sunrise @ Kolb
6910 E. Sunrise, 520-514-1922

El Charro Café Oro Valley
7725 N. Oracle Road #101, 520-229-19222

El Charro Café Speedway
4699 East Speedway, 520-325-1922

Catalina Foothills' Ventana Village Shopping Center
East Sunrise Boulevard and North Kolb Road

El Charro Café Rancho Sahuarita
15920 S. Rancho Sahuarita Road, Sahuarita

El Charro Café Cookbook

Author: Jane Stern, Michael Stern

A Roadfood Cookbook: The colorful history of El Charro Cafe and the 150 recipes for vibrant, exciting Mexican food make this book as unique and entertaining as the 80-year-old restaurant itself. It is rumored that in the 1940s, founder Monica Flin would sit on the El Charro patio, sipping martinis from teacups and playing cards with John Wayne, who was in Tucson to film westerns. Today the restaurant is run by Carlotta Flores and her husband, Ray. The El Charro Cafe, America's oldest family-operated Mexican restaurant, is located in a house built in the 1890s by Monica's father (who was also Carlotta's great-grandfather). The restaurant's signature dish is Carne Seca Beef, a Tucson passion. The beef is cured high above the restaurant's patio where strips of thin-sliced tenderloin hang in an open metal cage.

Old favorites and creative new Mexican dishes that are enjoyable to cook and to serve fill the book.

The greatest restaurants in America are its wonderful independent regional restaurants. And there are no greater experts on America's regional restaurants than Michael and Jane Stern. "Coast to coast," said the New York Times, "they know where to find the freshest lobster rolls, the fluffiest pancakes, the crispiest catfish." Rutledge Hill Press is launching a new series of Roadfood Cookbooks, each with recipes, pictures, and the history of one of America's greatest regional restaurants.

• Hardcover: 232 pages
• Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 30, 2002)

Purchase book online from Amazon.,com: El Charro Café Cookbook: Flavors of Tucson from America's Oldest Family-Operated Mexican Restaurant

El Charro Cafe

Author: Carlotta Flores

El Charro Café is famous throughout the United States and the world for its vibrant, fresh Mexican food and fiesta-like atmosphere.

In this beautifully illustrated color hardcover cookbook, owner and chef Carlotta Flores shares her recipes, her family history and her love of this flavorful cuisine.

Carlotta includes prized family recipes as well as those that make El Charro a Tucson delight and tradition. She tells stories of the four generations of her family who have worked at El Charro since its beginnings in 1922, making it the oldest family-run restaurant in the Southwest.

A glossary of Spanish terms and foods helps you learn your way around a Mexican menu. You'll learn the secrets to making authentic, traditional Sonoran Mexican dishes and also ways to make light, healthy and equally delicious newer ones.
You'll absorb tortilla etiquette along with the recipes for El Charro's savory sauces and soups.

Photographs of the patio and restaurant are interspersed with "notitas" (little notes and tips) and Carlotta's stories. The heart of the book: Wonderful recipes, including all the classic dishes you expect from a Mexican restaurant as well as ones that may be new to you such as Puerco con Mangos (pork with mango sauce), Tacos de Camaron (shrimp tacos), Almendrado (almond meringue pudding), and Capirotada (Lenten bread pudding). Vegetable dishes such as Rajitas de Nopalitas y Cebollitas (sautéed prickly pear with onions and green chile), Enchiladas de Hongos (mushroom enchiladas), Papas Molidas de Navidad (mashed potatoes with green chile and salsa) will open your eyes and tastebuds.

A book so representative of Tucson that is was chosen for the City of Tucson’s Millennium Time Capsule.

You will enjoy your visit to El Charro Café, sampling Tucson's heritage as well as its cuisine ... Bienvenidos!

• Hardcover: 144 pages
• Publisher: Fisher Books (October 1998)

Purchase book online: El Charro Cafe: The Tastes and Traditions of Tucson

El Charro, Western Mexican Cook Book
Author: Alfonso C Pain

66 pages of recipes from El Charro Restaurant. Paperback. Publisher: Tucson Printing (1959). Purchase book online: El Charro, Western Mexican Cook Book

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