Award-winning Elvira’s Restaurant Coming Soon to Downtown Tucson

January 6, 2016

Mango Margarita with a tahjin rim. Photo by Ricardo Mosso

Mango Margarita with a tahjin rim.
Photo by Ricardo Mosso

by Liz Felix

You’ve probably seen the decorative and slightly peeled decals on the windows of the old Saint House location on 256 E. Congress, teasing pedestrians with the anticipated arrival of Downtown Tucson’s newest business, Elvira’s Restaurant, projected to open early this year.

Cocina. Vino. Tequila.

The three words found on the restaurant’s windows easily sum up what Elvira’s is all about: great authentic Mexican food and flavorful wines and tequilas.

The restaurant’s roots go back to the border town of Nogales, Mexico, where the restaurant was established in 1927. Elvira’s quickly became a favorite on Nogales’ popular tourist strip, Avenida Obregon, where it remained until 2009. When it came to opening Elvira’s next location, the owner Ruben Monroy seriously considered Tucson but ultimately decided to relocate to the historic town of Tubac, Arizona.

Folks have tried getting a peek of Elvira's interior by peeling the restaurant's decals.

Folks have tried getting a peek of Elvira’s interior by peeling the restaurant’s decals.

Now, after six years in Tubac, Elvira’s will be heading to its originally envisioned location, the Old Pueblo

Behind Elvira’s award-winning dishes is owner and chef, Ruben Monroy, who took over the restaurant in the early 90s, shortly after graduating college.

“I wanted to do new things and create different cuisine,” said Monroy. In 2000, he enrolled in a culinary school in Mexico City, which helped him enhance the authentic recipes he had from his grandmother, Elvira.

With many Mexican restaurants around, Elvira’s plans to separate itself from the rest by offering a unique and creative menu that Monroy calls “traditional but with a touch of fusion.”

Corn truffle, squash blossom, manzano, and morita chiles are just a few of the many ingredients Elvira’s utilizes. “My menu is basically Mexican food from the center of Mexico,” says Monroy. “It’s more fusion and inventive. We change a lot of recipes without taking out its essence.”

The Frida Kahlo dish at Elvira's. Photo: Ricardo Mosso.

The Frida Kahlo dish at Elvira’s.
Photo: Ricardo Mosso.

From classic Mexican dishes like chile rellenos to marinated ahi tuna, Elvira’s puts a spin on both the traditional and the new, but it’s their famous mole negro, or what they call the “King of Moles,” that’s sure to pack the place in the future.

“Our mole negro has been here forever. We get most of the ingredients from Mexico to get the same flavor,” Monroy says. With over 30 ingredients, the mole negro is destined to be a must-try when visiting the Downtown area. Elvira’s will offer eight different varieties of moles, enough to entice and satisfy the biggest mole aficionado.

For more information and to stay up-to-date on Elvira’s Tucson opening, visit their Facebook page here.