The University of Arizona on Tuesday awarded longtime Tucson Mexican restaurant El Saguarito the exclusive rights to serve and sell Mexican food at Arizona Stadium and McKale Center.

The four-year contract starts with the Aug. 29 Wildcat football home opener against the University of Nevada, which marks the return of El Saguarito to campus after a nine-year absence. The 25-year-old El Saguarito, 1763 E. Prince Road\, was the first Tucson Mexican restaurant allowed to set up shop at UA sporting events in 1993. The restaurant, owned and operated by the Vasquez family — mom and dad Albert and Bianca and kids Jacqueline, Albert Jr. and Emilio — stayed on campus until 2005, when El Charro took over.

El Charro President Ray Flores said his family, which owns El Charro Cafe and Sir Veza's Taco Garage, decided early this summer not to renew its contract with the UA when it was up in June because the cost of doing business at the university had become too high.

"We love the UA but it became too costly to continue with them,” Flores said last week, citing the fees attached to doing business at UA sports facilities.

Brett Brestel, director of student concessions with the UA Student Unions, said the UA went to a flat-fee bid process for the new contract, effectively giving vendors the choice of marketing with IMG.

"Now we’re going into more of a direct bid so that it’s not tied into the marketing,” Brestel said, noting, though, that vendors are still likely to contract with IMG to draw attention to their businesses inside the stadium and outside.

Albert Vasquez said El Saguarito will serve a menu of green chile, chicken and bean burritos, fresh made tortillas with honey, quesadillas, individual and family-sized nachos and churros from four locations — three on the east side of the stadium and one on the west side.

See the full story in Thursday's Arizona Daily Star.