El Coronado Family Resaurantby Tyler Woods on Feb. 02, 2012, under restaurant
I crave Mexican food. In fact, at times I think it runs through my blood. Being born and raised in Tucson, Mexican food is second nature to me. I always had a variety of hangouts to enjoy this food, but once I moved out to just a few minutes from Vail my Mexican food intake was limited unless I wanted to drive. One day while shopping at the Safeway, I came across a Mexican food restaurant, and my palate danced. So today, Tucson Biz Beat salutes El Coronado Family Restaurant.
Owner-chef Mary Coronado started this family restaurant in Safford Arizona 31 years ago. Mary knows her food and as a champion salsa maker who has won a variety of awards, knew Tucson deserved to be part of these great Mexican food flavors. So did her daughters, Della Coronado and Julie Beilman, and so two-and-a-half years ago, they opened El Coronado Family Restaurant at 9040 E. Valencia Rd in Tucson.
I am a Mexican food snob I must say, and I can always tell a good Mexican food restaurant by the salsa. I loved their salsa, which is heavy on cilantro, the way I like it, and just enough heat to make my tongue dance. The salsa is served in a squeeze bottle, so I can either squeeze it on my fresh chips, or squeeze it in a bowl. To me that is home-style serving!
My first trip to this quaint little place I ate their carne asada chimichanga, which was topped with their homemade red sauce and guacamole. It was not too big or too little and stuffed with lots of tender tangy meat. The Sonoran enchiladas were thick, moist and tasty, plus there were three on my plate which meant leftovers the next day!
My next trip I tried their chili relleno. Della, head chef, said it was a good choice because she does it different than most folks. While traditionally you have an egg batter and fry the chili, Della does an egg batter and grills the chili. The result is not only healthier, it is quite yummy and greasy batter does not consume me.
Julie tells me that not only good food is important to this family-run restaurant, getting to know everyone and making them feel at home is equally important. “We keep notes so we can learn people’s name and call regulars by their name.” These little things are what El Coronado does to make sure people have an enjoyable dining experience.
Mary Coronado says one day she was in the kitchen and she looked up and she saw her daughters, son and grandchildren all working, “That just made my day,” she says. She realized that this family business really is about family.
What is important as well is how satisfied their customers are. I was sitting across from a young couple and when the check came, the man looked at the bill and had a surprised look on his face. I asked him why he looked puzzled, and he said, “This is really a cheap bill for the food I got.” I asked if he would be back and he said “definitely.”
So today, Tucson Biz Beat salutes Coronado Family Restaurant at 9040 E. Valencia Rd. If you want home-style food and service, then I give them a thumbs up for both. What are you waiting for? Give them a call at 520-574-7776 and order to go or sit inside their newly expanded restaurant and enjoy the waiters, the family and the smiling faces of satisfied customers.