New Wing Spot Links Sonoran, American Favs
September 11, 2015
by Brad Poole
Antonio Montoya didn’t set out to be a restaurant owner when he came the United States from Sonora, Mexico, but it worked out that way earlier this week, when he opened Sonora Wings & Seafood on Stone Avenue just north of Pennington Street.
“I was planning for two years,” said a smiling Montoya, whose father-in-law, Bernardo Acosta, owns Bernardo’s Mexican Food, just a block south on Stone from his own place. Montoya worked at Bernardo’s for five years before branching out on his own.
For 15 years Montoya worked in a pharmacy in his hometown of Cananea, Sonora, about 150 miles south of Tucson. There he gained an appreciation for seafood, a staple of Sonoran life because the Mexican state borders the Sea of Cortez and fishing is a way of life. The roots of his food are clear, starting with the Spanish on the menu.
Blending an American staple – wings – with Sonoran sauces puts the small, casual shop in a niche no other restaurant occupies Downtown. It’s a niche Montoya waited patiently for, so he could feed the throngs of city, county, and court workers and other Downtown denizens, whether they want breakfast, lunch or dinner.
“I like Downtown. Every time is busy Downtown,” he said.
For now, a 60-day wait for a liquor license is keeping the eatery a dry zone that closes at 4 p.m., but Montoya plans to expand his offerings to the happy hour crowd as soon as he clears the license hurdles. He will add more televisions and keep the bar simple, only serving beer.
“I want to make it a place where people can come after work, like a sports bar,” he said.
Until then, the shop is open only for breakfast and lunch. Breakfast offerings include waffles, and ham, bacon, or sausage muffins. But Sonora Wings & Seafood doesn’t have muffins and waffles in its name. The place is mostly all about the savory treats on the lunch menu.
Wings are three for $2.99 for boneless or $2.85 with bones. They come in servings of three, six and 12, and there are 10 different sauces. Three – chiltepin, habanero and serrano – are Sonoran specialties, and all are Montoya’s recipes.
The seafood delectables include the ubiquitous fish tacos (shrimp, talapia, or marlin), oysters (ostiones on the menu), campechana (mixed seafood soup), camerón (shrimp, cocktails or breaded) and pescado empanizado (breaded, fried fish).
Sonora Wings & Seafood is in Suite 102 on the ground floor of the Pioneer Building, 100 N. Stone Ave., across the street from the Pima County Public Library. Look for the giant banner out front. The shop is open 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. See them on Facebook here.