Although we cooked and ate at "home" (well, in our VRBO rental) most meals while spending the month of March in Patagonia, Arizona, we did venture out for a few meals at local eateries. There aren't any chains in this small village (gotta love that!) and only a handful of restaurants. But those that we sampled all served tasty fare. An added bonus is that we could walk everywhere in town. We just love being able to walk to go out to eat!
We first thought that the name of this small place referred to the car of the same name, but once we entered the doors and discovered that it was a mom-and-pop Mexican restaurant, we realized it must be a family name instead. This unassuming little restaurant on the main street through town (Naugle Avenue) serves straightforward, simple Mexican food, and entrees are reasonably priced. There isn't any atmosphere to speak of, but the waitress is sweet, and her dad makes the salsa served with the complimentary chips himself.
We went two Thursday nights in a row. On our first visit, we were the only people there, and the second time, there was just one other table of four retirees. Patagonia gets a lot of day trippers from Tucson and beyond and pretty much clears out and rolls up the sidewalks at night, so this wasn't too surprising. We often saw people eating lunch there (outside) when we took our daily bike rides.
On our first visit, I ordered the Chile Rellenos, which tasted good but were a bit soggy. The beans and rice sides were good as was the Mexican beer (hard to mess that up!) Barry got chicken enchiladas, which he must have liked pretty well since he got them again the second time. I tried chicken soft tacos on our second visit and liked them better than the rellenos.
This combination coffee shop, bakery, ice cream shop, and restaurant is the most popular place to eat in Patagonia, and with good reason -- it's great! They only serve breakfast and lunch so get plenty of day visitors to town as well as cyclists riding on some of the supported bike tours we saw going through town. Locals like it as well -- always a good sign. We normally enjoy a bowl of oatmeal with lots of healthy fixings for breakfast pretty much every day, but we did finally get over to Gathering Grounds for one very hearty breakfast.
I ordered an absolutely delicious breakfast sandwich on sourdough with green chiles, tomato, and avocado; and Barry raved about his breakfast burrito with vegetables and fresh homemade salsa.
On the way out we just had to buy a few bakery items to take back to the house. To protect the guilty, no photos were taken!
This eclectic place has been in business in Patagonia for a long time and rightfully so. The quirky menu of salads, pizzas, calzones, and pasta offers a large variety of healthy, interesting choices. We never ate in but ordered takeout pizzas twice, and they came with whole wheat crust -- without asking for it! It was good crust, too. And the toppings included things like feta, fresh spinach and herbs, sundried tomatoes, roasted chicken, and thin prosciutto slices. The large pizzas weren't inexpensive at $24-26 each, but were a perfect foodie indulgence!
Although we never ate in the restaurant, it always smelled delicious when I went in to pick up pizzas. I suspect the pastas and everything else are just as amazing and creative as the pizzas. Velvet Elvis has a very attractive website if you'd like to learn more about this interesting place and its colorful owner and executive chef, Cecelia, who hails from Quito, Ecuador.
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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