El Molinito

With locations in Marana and throughout Tucson, El Molinito will be coming to Oro Valley with a variety of traditional Mexican dishes.


El Molinito is soon to expand into the Town of Oro Valley, where it has purchased the building formerly known as the Loop Taste of Chicago, located at 10180 N. Oracle Road.

Scheduled to open sometime after Labor Day, the newest restaurant in the local Mexican food chain is currently undergoing renovations to alter the architecture of what was once a pizza-style parlor.

“We’re in the process of remodeling to make the restaurant our own,” said owner Wayne Hallquist.

For expanding into Oro Valley, Hallquist said the town seemed like a good place because of its business-friendly reputation. The scenery, with a great view of the Pusch Ridge hillside won’t hurt either. Hallquist says he is planning to make good use of the patio space for outdoor dining, and is also revamping the bar and restaurant layout. There will be a full bar that offers indoor and outdoor seating. Other specific renovations are still to be determined as the restaurant goes through all its licensing regulations.

Prior to becoming the Loop, the restaurant was known for its franchised name as Uno Chicago Grill.

The restaurant was purchased for $1.25 million.

At 7,295 square feet, the building is a little larger than the three other Tucson-area locations. It sits on 1.38 acres.

Hallquist hopes it will provide a unique experience to not only Oro Valley residents, but to all patrons.

“This will be a great location, and we want to accommodate everyone,” said Hallquist. “We’re going to be able to hold a lot of people.”

An estimated 40 employees will be hired.

El Molinito has been in business in Tucson for more than three decades.

Along with their lunch and dinner menus, Hallquist says a full breakfast menu may be a possibility at the Oro Valley location.

Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath said he is excited to see El Molinito join the Oro Valley business community.

“We’re always thrilled when a new business comes to Oro Valley,” said Hiremath. “I’d like to welcome El Molinito to our growing selection of delicious restaurants.”

The three other El Molinito restaurants are located at 5380 E. 22nd St., 2323 N. Pantano Road, and 3675 W. Ina Road.

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