A lot of restaurants are family-owned and family-run in the Tucson region, but there aren't many where the mom is doing the cooking.
One notable example in the Northwest is Nana's Kitchen, where nana really is cooking in the kitchen.
The matriarch of the family — Maria Teran — is responsible for the food, as well as the recipes that the authentic Mexican dishes are based upon.
"It's all mom's recipes, and she's here creating a warm environment and the authentic tastes for our customers," said son Javier Teran Jr., who partners with his mother and father, Javier Sr., to manage the restaurant.
Located at 8225 N. Courtney Page Way in Marana, a block northwest of the Cortaro Road and Arizona Pavilions intersection, Nana's Kitchen opened in August of 2008 inside 2,400-square feet of space in a new strip center. Inside dining room seating in Nana's accommodates 74 people, and the full bar seats another six. A patio for outdoor dining is in the works, Teran Jr. said.
Specialties that regulars request, according to Javier, include camarones en chile Colorado, (shrimp in red chile sauce, vegetables and tortillas); bistek ranchero, (top sirloin grilled with green chiles and onions); Milanese de carne o polo, (lightly breaded beef or chicken breast, served with rice and French fries); and chile relleno, (roasted cheese-stuffed green chile, dipped in egg batter, fried and topped with tomato sauce).
All dishes are served with rice and beans, he said. "There's nothing separate here because we're trying to give more to our customers," he added.
Business has been good from the time the restaurant opened, Teran Jr. pointed out, although he acknowledged it's difficult to jump into starting a restaurant where you don't know what to expect.
"We had never been in the restaurant business before, and at times I felt like throwing in the towel, especially during the time that the construction of our place was going on," he said. "It seemed to take forever with getting all the permits and then building the place, but with the support of the family, we got it all done. What really kept me going was that I believe in my mom's cooking so much."
Without having worked in restaurants, Teran Jr. noted that he didn't have much experience making alcoholic drinks, either.
"We have a lot of customers who tell us we make really good margaritas," he said, "but when we first opened I didn't know the first thing about how to make one. But I had to learn, and quickly, so I have it down now."
Nana's Kitchen is all about the customer's experience. Customer requests are honored whenever possible, he stressed.
"We want customers to feel at home and welcome in our restaurant," Javier said. "So if something isn't on the menu and a customer asks us for it, we'll make if for them if we have the means to do so back in the kitchen."
Nana's Kitchen (395-2508) serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's open Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
8225 N. Courtney Page Way, northwest of Cortaro Road and Arizona Pavilions intersection.
Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.