El Charro Cafe

Looking to eat a little healthier? El Charro has plenty of options on the lunch menu. The Reynosa Chicken is affordable and tasty.

Thelma Grimes/The Explorer

After 90 years in business, it’s hard to review an entity like El Charro, which has become one of Tucson’s most popular places for lunch, Happy Hour and dinner.

For me, El Charro does it best at Happy Hour. Half priced margaritas are fantastic, and heading over with a coworker to eat a plate of mini chimis, or a huge dish of nachos makes for a relaxing time. When you spend more than an hour at a place, and the bill is just over $15 for two of you by the end, you’ve got it good.

While Happy Hour is how I know El Charro best, I also decided to try it for lunch. Each time I’ve eaten there, it’s been a pleasure, including the most recent meal where I decided to take something off the healthy choice menu.

I was impressed with the Reynosa Chicken ($7.95), which had an all-natural grilled chicken breast brushed in Chipotle Ranch, topped with skim queso Casero & Calabacitas. The chicken was tender, the vegetables were cooked perfectly, and I was impressed with the skim queso.

In celebrating 90 years, the locally-owned family business has also been promoting a special brew. In February, El Charro introduced its “El Charro’s 1922 Amber Ale.”

El Charro Vice President Marques Flores partnered with Dennis Arnold of Barrio Brewing to develop the beer.

The process to establish this beer is described as “arduous” with Flores and Arnold spending many hours tasting and squeezing limes in a lot of beers from all over the world and what they came up with is a beer that stands alone, needs no lime, but will be a perfect companion to the food styles of Marque’s chef and mom, Carlotta Flores.

Arnold described the 1922 ale as a premium two row malt with two levels of American crystal malt and a touch of light chocolate malt, which gives the beer a slightly caramel taste balanced with Columbus and Cascade hops.

The 1922 Amber Ale became available at all 15 Tucson-area El Charro locations this year, being priced just below the cost of the Mexican beers already available.

El Charro has a busy location in the Northwest, located at 7725 N. Oracle Road.

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