“EL CHARRO IS
¡Bienvenidos a El Charro
Established in 1922 by our beloved Tia Monica Flin, El Charro Café of
Tucson, Arizona is The Nation’s Oldest Mexican Restaurant in continuous
operation by the same family. Our Tia Monica, a true entrepreneur and
burgeoning chef, came to Tucson via France in the 1800’s when her father
Jules, a famous stone-mason, was commissioned to build the city’s
pristine St. Augustine Cathedral. Jules, whose signature work can be
seen throughout Tucson’s Historic District, also built the families
residence in 1896. This same building is now home to the Original
Downtown El Charro Café location on Court Avenue.
Back in those days, a
woman owned business was rare enough, but El Charro was even more unique
as it was truly a one woman operation, with Monica acting as hostess,
waitress and chef all at the same time! Today, Carlotta Flores, our
chef-author and great grandniece of Monica, carries on the tradition of
Tia Monica! And while no longer a one woman operation, under her
guidance El Charro has become one of the most critically acclaimed
restaurant brands in the USA with features in Bon Appétit, Gourmet
Magazine, USA Today, The NBC Today Show, Parade Magazine, the NY and LA
Times and most recently; The NY Post.
Featuring Sonoran and
innovative Tucson-style Mexican food, 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 began in the local lifestyle magazine
and was named in 2010 as one of America’s Top 50 Restaurant Icons by
Nation’s Restaurant News.
Chef Carlotta and family
currently own and operate five Tucson-area locations, a full service
catering division, and are the Official Mexican Food Restaurants of the
UofA Wildcats. They are involved in countless charitable and non-profit
efforts and believe that a business is only as good as what it gives
back to its community.
The Home of the Chimichanga
Our Legendary Tia Monica Flin, is well-known as “The Inventor of The
Chimichanga.” While frying her now famous El Charro ground beef tacos,
she accidentally dropped a burro into the frying pan and when the oil
splashed up she was about to lash out a common Spanish cuss word
starting with “Ch” but because she was amongst her young nieces and
nephews, changed it to “Chimichanga”, the equivalent of “thingamajig.”
Thankfully for all of us, Monica was a controlled and creative cuss.
El Charro Café
Below Sea Level!
El Charro was honored when the United States Navy named the galley on
the U.S.S. Tucson Submarine as “El Charro Down Under.” Yes, you can eat
at an El Charro at 1,000 feet below sea level, but you’ll need to enlist
What is a
The word “Charro” is “a name given to the peasants of the province of
Salamanca.” This word was adapted in 1857 and applied in Mexico to good,
able horsemen, recognized by the costume or uniform they wear,
especially the high-crowned, wide brimmed hat.