Pepe’s Taco Villa

From gringo-safe chains to hole-in-the wall taquerias, the streets of Phoenix are lined with Mexican restaurants — except much of that food had traditionally been more “border” than “south of the border.” In other words, many local favorites serve Sonoran food, associated with Arizona and the Mexican state of Sonora directly below it on the map. In recent years, migrations from other regions of Mexico have diversified the food choices in Phoenix, but it’s important not to forget restaurants that offered Mexican beyond Sonoran long before it was fashionable to do so. Continue reading “Pepe’s Taco Villa”


Almost every Phoenician has had some exposure to ocotillo, the desert shrub (technically not a cactus) known for its numerous spiny stalks that tower up to 20 feet high. The plant is a frequent component of local home xeriscapes, and specimens can be seen on any hike in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. In spring, vibrant red flowers appear at the end of each of its protuberances. With myriad branches growing in every direction but all leading to gorgeous blossoms, the ocotillo plant is an apt metaphor for a new restaurant in Midtown Phoenix that bears its name. Continue reading “Ocotillo”

Restaurant Mexico

It’s unlikely there’s an official record for the most relocations of a local restaurant, but a top contender might be Downtown Tempe‚Äôs Restaurant Mexico. Over the years, the restaurant has existed at multiple sites, all within a half-mile radius of one another, moving each time as the surrounding neighborhood has changed. The restaurant originated on Mill Avenue and then moved to the former Arches shopping center on University Drive before returning in 2007 to Mill, this time to a restaurant-dense block just south of the Mill Avenue / 3rd Street light rail station.

bistek ranchero

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