El Charro Café

Established in 1922, El Charro Café of Tucson, Arizona is the nation's oldest Mexican restaurant in continuous operation by the same family. Features traditional Northern Mexico-Sonoran style and innovative Tucson-style

Downtown Tucson
311 N Court Ave
Tucson, AZ 85701

Oro Valley 
7725 N Oracle Rd
Oro Valley, AZ 85704

6910 E Sunrise
Tucson, AZ 85750

Cultural Narrative: 

El Charro Cafe was founded by "Tia Monica," who came to Tucson from France in the 1800s with her father Jules, who was commissioned to build Tucson's St. Augustine Cathedral. Jules built the historic building known as the Original Downtown El Charro Cafe on Court Avenue. 

One of El Charro's most famous dishes is their carne seca chimichanga. The dish contains beef that is marinated and then dried in the hot Arizona sun. The meat is then cooked with tomato, green chile, and onion. 

El Charro has an inventive menu that blends Mexican and American recipes. They are known for their chimichangas, sun-dried carne seca, and topopo salad. They also specialize in homemade salsa and Mexican desserts. 

El Charro has won the Tucson Lifestyle Reader’s Poll Gold Medal as Best Mexican Restaurant nine years in a row or since the award was begun in the local lifestyle magazine and was named in 2010 as one of America’s Top 50 Restaurant Icons by Nation’s Restaurant News. 

Traditional Knowledge: 

Monica Flin, the founder of El Charro, is credited as the "Inventor of The Chimichanga." She was cooking her famous beef tacos one night when she accidentally dropped her burro into the pan. To stop herself from cussing in front of her niece and nephews as oil went flying everywhere she add the "Ch" sound to a common Spanish cussword. This resulted in her invention of a new word: Chimichanga.