Fresh ventures

Two new Sonoran-style restaurants opening in Marana

Tacos and quesadillas and hot dogs, oh my! Two tried and true Sonoran style restaurants are opening their doors on Tucson's northwest side.

Tacos Apson opened their highly anticipated second location at 641 N. Thornydale Road last month. Yazmin Aldecoa-Durazo, who started the taqueria 19 years ago on South 12th Avenue with her husband, Francisco, said they have been planning a northwest location for a while and the right opportunity opened up during the pandemic.

"We've been wanting to open up a new location and then talking to many of our clients, we noticed many of them were from the northwest side," Aldecoa-Durazo said. "So far, it's been going very well. We've been getting a lot of support from new customers and returning customers that have been to our other location."

While Tacos Apson is known for their mesquite grilled ribs and carne asada tacos at their South 12th Avenue taqueria, Aldecoa-Durazo said they've added chicken tacos at the Thornydale restaurant. The new menu item is a hit with her new customers, she said.

"Asada and Coca-Cola in the bottle are the most popular at our southside location, but over here (on the northwest side) it's chicken and horchata," Aldecoa-Durazo said. "We don't serve chicken on the south side because there wasn't room on the menu. But our new location is larger."

The owner said the pandemic has not seriously affected business since starting last March. They've been able to retain customers at their original restaurant while building a new base up north. She does say their new location offers dine-in seating during the pandemic, while the original does not.

"We have been very blessed and lucky during this time," Aldecoa-Durazo said. "Everything has been perfect so far."

Local food truck Blacktop Grill is planning on opening a brick and mortar location at 8300 N. Thornydale Road, suite 120, by October. Owner Gabe Ceniceros, who started the original food truck back in 2014, said he is excited to make a home for the eatery on Tucson's northwest side in the former location of Mama's Hawaiian BBQ.

Blacktop Grill is known for their Sonoran-style grilled quesadillas and unconventional quarter-pound hot dogs, like the Elotero Dog —an elote-inspired wiener topped with fire-roasted corn, chipotle lime sauce, queso cotija and garlic sriracha. Ceniceros said in a city known for Sonoran cuisine, he knew he had to get creative with his menu to set himself apart from the rest.

"There's a lot of Sonoran restaurants around here that have set the bar really high. We wanted to differentiate ourselves with our hot dogs," Ceniceros said. "That's what we became known for. Just changing it up a little and making a fresh, exciting experience."

Now that he has a little more space to work with, Ceniceros said he plans on expanding his menu. However, the owner is tight-lipped on what mouth-watering creations he plans on adding, but did say customers will be seeing a lot of the seasonal creations they've served throughout the past six years.

"We're originally a food truck and built our reputation on a small menu, but now it's time to expand," Ceniceros said.

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