Barrio Cuisine, Native American Bistro: More Than Just Fry Bread

November 20, 2014

Barrio Cuisine launched at the corner of 5th and Broadway earlier this month.

Barrio Cuisine launched at the corner of 5th and Broadway earlier this month.

by Liz Felix

Step into Barrio Cuisine, Native American Bistro and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into your own home. “Mi casa es su casa”, says owner Kelly Gomez. “It brings joy to my heart to hear people tell me that our food tastes just like mom use to make.”

Located right on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Broadway Boulevard, Barrio Cuisine stands out from the rest of the Downtown crowd, introducing a modern and inventive take on Native American Cuisine.

As native Tucsonans, owners Kelly Gomez and daughter Shanti Gomez saw the need to bring more diversity to Downtown Tucson. “It just made sense to open Downtown”, says Gomez. “We wanted to showcase the traditional meals and cooking that we’ve experienced while living on the reservation and at the same time, add a bit of a modern twist.”

The sliders bridge traditional Native flavors with an American classic.

Barrio Cuisine uses Yaqui yeast rolls for their beef/chorizo hamburgers.

And that’s exactly what the menu offers. From the popular and traditional fry bread dishes to a unique version of baby back ribs, Barrio Cuisine offers a little bit of everything for everyone. “It’s diverse food for a diverse town.” Fusing both Tohono O’odham and Pascua Yaqui cultures, the menu doesn’t exclude vegetarians either, offering plenty of healthy and herbivore-friendly options like the tasty Bistro Enchiladas made with a creamy kalabacita filling and topped with a tangy green sauce and fresh queso blanco.

The kitchen is scratch-based, meaning everything is made at the restaurant. There are no microwaves, no shortcuts and the taste of the food is proof of that. Their Yaqui yeast rolls used for their hamburgers and Yaqui sliders are baked fresh everyday. “It’s not your typical burger” says a smiling and proud Kelly. She’s right, it’s not your everyday burger, it’s better. Staying true to their innovative approach, their homemade hamburger combines beef and chorizo, a meat-lovers dream. Accompanying the burger are pickled onions and a cilantro-lime aioli.

Along with delectable dishes, Barrio Cuisine offers a great and friendly atmosphere for all occasions. Whether you’re looking for a casual happy hour spot or a restaurant to take someone special, Barrio Cuisine covers all bases. There’s even an area for private parties of up to 50 people.


The Sweet Dough Gods dessert combines fry bread with honey, powdered sugar, drunken strawberries, and whipped cream.

And speaking of happy hour, Barrio offers an all-day tapas menu that’s easy on the wallet too. Kelly Gomez says that making the food affordable was something that was very important to them. The menu prices vary from $5 to $24. Just like their meals, their cocktails are also made from scratch, like their Barrio Chelada (their take on the classic Michelada) which uses fresh cucumber and Serrano peppers. “It’s not a ten-second drink. We put lots of love and care into our drinks and dishes” says Gomez.

Looking to the future, the Gomezes hope to infuse more of their indigenous cultural influence into Downtown by having Latin-themed nights which will include music and live entertainment. “The Downtown experience has been pleasant and the people have been very welcoming. Come visit and say hi!”

For more information on Barrio Cuisine, visit their website and stay up-to-date on the restaurant’s events by liking them on Facebook @BarrioCuisineNAB.