Rigo's expands to Benson

Rigo’s Mexican Restaurant opened its newest location in Benson on June 21. The first Rigo’s opened 19 years ago.

Rigo’s Mexican Restaurant has strayed far from its South Tucson birthplace, opening an outpost last week in Benson, some 45 miles from its flagship on South Fourth Avenue.

The new restaurant — Rigo’s third — held its grand opening June 21 at 660 N. Ocotillo Road, serving a classic Mexican food menu that pretty much mirrors Rigo’s two other locations at 2527 S. Fourth Ave., and 5851 N. Oracle Road.

Rigo’s is popular for its buffets, served throughout the day featuring tacos and fajitas, big pans of steaming, creamy refried beans, fluffy Spanish rice and fresh tortillas.

It’s also known for its political conversations served up by local elected officials from the city and county who regularly haunt the restaurant’s popular lunchtime buffet.

At last week’s grand opening, folks showed up from the neighboring towns of Tombstone, Willcox and Bisbee. The reception was so big that the restaurant ran out of food, said Gloria Santana, who has worked with owner Roberto “Rigo” Lopez since he opened the first Rigo’s in South Tucson 19 years ago.

“It’s been really, really overwhelming and really nice,” she said. “We actually ran out of food the first two days because we weren’t planning such a big opening. But it was really nice.”

“I am very proud,” Lopez said of the Benson location. “These are nice people.”

Lopez said that in addition to Santana, a number of his staff have made the move to Benson, where Lopez is in the process of moving. His daughters will continue running the family’s Tucson restaurants.

Rigo’s in Benson is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; and from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays through Sundays; it’s closed on Tuesdays.

New restaurants that have opened in 2019

Contact Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com or 573-4642.

Cathalena has covered music for the Star for the past 20 years. She's a graduate of Arizona State University has worked at Sedona Red Rock News, Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, New York; and USA Today.