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The Rodriguez Sisters’ Mexican Food Empire ~ Globe, Arizona

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After an enjoyable weekend with old friends Rachel and Michael in Durango, Colorado we drove the San Juan Skyway in a little snow, then through Navajo land down onto the I-40 corridor towards Flagstaff. Single digit temps that night caused us to abandon the Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest/Painted Desert Nat’l Park visions: maybe another time but not during the winter. We dropped due South through an Apache reservation as well as through the Salt River Canyon on to the Sonoran Desert and Saguaro country. Experiencing all of Arizona’s climate zones over the two days drive: from six thousand plus feet of elevation to around two thousand feet above sea level.

The view from two different directions at the Beckler Memorial Overlook in the Salt River Canyon on AZ 60.

Along the way and after driving through (down into and then up out of) the impressive Salt River Canyon we had occasion to pass through Globe, Arizona. We were nearing our lunch hour so we stopped at the in-town Safeway to stock up the frig. Being intrigued by large bags of hominy corn and masa in the fresh meat display and being from back east not really knowing their culinary uses I summoned, by buzzer, the butcher of the day. After having the local uses of hominy and masa patiently and pleasantly explained the butcher mentioned that the Globe area was reknowned for its Mexican cooking and restaurants. We plied the talkative butcher for his opinion of a good Mexican restaurant to get lunch. His reply was ‘Guayos’, with the caveat that it was the best of many in his opinion. Globe is a mining town, copper and gold, therefore a boom town, with an Arizona State Prison on the outskirts as well as numerous excellent Mexican eateries.

There is a story here; in fact maybe we are already well into it!!

Finding our way to ‘Guayos’ along about one-thirty in the afternoon we were welcomed to a table by Toni, our waitress. After telling our tale of being sent by the butcher at the in-town Safeway the wait staff chuckled slightly and let us in on the fact that the owner’s wife worked at the same Safeway. Toni suggested the #6 plate, a beef taco, burrito and enchilada plate, as the best and most representative of ‘Guayos” fare. She assured me that I would leave full and pleased with the food. She was correct!!

At the hour that we were there the restaurant had other patrons but was not that busy, so the wait staff had the time and more importantly were willing to chat and answer our questions. A unique photo-shopped and transposed image was framed and hanging on the wall. The restaurant’s namesake and the original ‘Guayo’ is seated in front of his sons whom also own and run Mexican restaurants in the Globe-Miami area. I believe we spoke with the son on the left and the son in blue has retired in order to enjoy the out-of-doors.

Photo-Shopped behind the Guayo and Sons image is a portion of a painting hanging else where in the restaurant.

This painting is of the three Rodriguez sisters and the husbands of two of the sisters. One Rodriguez sister came to Globe back in the day and found success serving Mexican food to the copper and gold miners and the rest of the community. She in turn sent for her other two sisters and they found success as well running separate Mexican food establishments. All the Mexican restaurants for which the Globe-Miami area is reknown trace their lineage, their roots back to the three Rodriguez sisters and their families. Interestingly enough the Rodriguez family immigrated from Mexico to Marfa, Texas before relocating to Globe, Arizona.

One of the direct descendants of the Rodriguez sisters happened to drop by. She proudly shared her heritage with us as well as a framed image of the Rodriguez sisters’ mother, the matriarch of the Rodriguez family, and an image of the Rodriguez sisters from back in the day. Our waitress Toni holds that framed picture.

Kudos to the Safeway butcher for pointing us in the direction of this story.

Thanks to the staff and family at ‘Guayos’ for excellent food and a story well and lovingly told.

Posted by bigdawg on December 10, 2012

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