At Manny's Mexican Restaurant, a familial spirit permeates the air and is reflected in the menu's hearty homemade dishes that cross borders with Mexican and Southwestern flavors. The combination plates mix and match traditional Mexican entrees such as flautas, tacos, and enchiladas, while the kitchen crew returns to Arizona by deep-frying burritos filled with meats and beans to make filling chimichangas. At the outdoor cantina, bartenders—like jockeys on stilts—reach for top-shelf tequilas such as Patron or Hornitos when mixing their signature margaritas. Southwestern paintings and mosaic tiles capture the sunlight as it bounces about the expansive indoor dining room and outdoor patio.:m]]
Calico Jack's Cantina blends Tex-Mex cuisine with an atmosphere of all-night dance parties and music-fueled celebrations. Murals of Mexican calaveras dot the yellow walls as diners sup on hearty meals of carnitas, burgers, tacos, and salsas and dips. Revelers crowd the floor to rhythmically move to tracks from a live DJ or step up on one of the two full-service bars for delivering raucous toasts or taking first place in a height contest.
La Perla Cafe is more than a restaurant—it's one man's American dream come true. Joe Pompa and his wife, Eva, both grew up in the Jerome-Clarkdale area of Arizona. As a young man, Joe worked in the copper mines before becoming a champion middleweight boxer. Thinking of their future, Eva asked him to leave his boxing career behind and study electronics, so Joe took correspondence courses and eventually earned his degree. He took a job with Goodyear Aerospace to provide for his family, but he couldn’t let go of his lifelong goal to become self-employed. Joe knew that between his business acumen and his wife Eva's cooking—which she first learned in her native town of Santa Rosalia in Chihuahua, Mexico—they could make a go of it.
In 1946, the pair moved to Glendale and opened La Perla Cafe. Close to 70 years later, the restaurant still serves the same subtly spiced food inspired by Mexico's Chihuahua region, making tortillas by hand daily. The walls are decorated with a colorful mosaic, scenic prints, and framed boxing posters from Joe's heyday. Green plants weave in and out of a yellow arch, unlike a certain fast-food chain's yellow arches, which are wrapped with hamburgers. On the weekends, mariachi bands bring the space to life and sing classics such as "México Lindo y Querido."
Rita's hopes to transport diners to the lively, colorful streets of Mexico and south-of-the-border beaches with its authentic Mexican food and Mexican seafood. It serves Mexico City–style street tacos, sea-bass stews, and Sinaloa-inspired seafood cocktails that lack only the breezes and vacationing snowmen that come with visits to the beach. Its staffers pull carts topped with avocados tableside to create guacamole in front of hungry patrons and pour eight different handcrafted margaritas made with freshly squeezed juices and premium tequilas.