Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
The menu at this Mexican cafe on Tucson's west side bursts with freshness
alert top story

The menu at this Mexican cafe on Tucson's west side bursts with freshness

  • Updated

La Chaiteria is Chef Wendy Garcia’s third in her restaurant trilogy, which includes the flagship vegan eatery Tumerico.

Our time here on Earth, at least for me, is marked by meals. Meals with family. Meals with friends. Meals with a beloved. Meals alone. There is pleasure in each of these dining experiences.

The ritual of each is similar as each share the simple joys of smell, anticipation, taste. There are times in our lives, when this ritual may be all we have or close to it. When this joy and pleasure, this privilege of choice, becomes our sole comfort.

I have been there in my life. I have also been witness to it, at the end of life with loved ones. And then, I have watched as even that slips away and desire becomes the lack of desire. It is this that makes a restaurant that brims with the joy of life, a priceless thing.

Much like the aesthetic, La Chaiteria's menu offerings burst with color and freshness. Drink highlights include the Turmeric Lemonade, Sweet Sunrise and the Pick Me Up. 

La Chaiteria celebrates bounty one plate at a time. Each offering bursts with so much color and freshness and love. When I enter 1002 W. Congress St. to order, I am always greeted with heart and made to feel truly welcome. Chaiteria celebrates life and the fuel of life.

I feel the same authentic care after I have sat, after my food has arrived, then throughout my meal right up until I leave. This is a testament to owner-chef Wendy Garcia. I do not know her personally but can feel the drive behind every aspect of her business. This is hard grueling work and yet the result looks effortless and sings with harmony. Chaiteria is the third in her current restaurant trilogy which includes the flagship vegan restaurant Tumerico.

La Chaiteria is this omnivore’s dream. Being an omnivore means I love and appreciate all food. So I am delighted by the vegan and the non-vegan menu alike.

La Chaiteria’s jackfruit tacos are drizzled in cashew crema. The restaurant’s menu features vegan and non-vegan options.

Their Jackfruit al pastor tacos, drizzled in cashew crema, is so plate-licking good, I would say it easily rivaled the authentic barbacoa … but oooh, the barbacoa.

Each plate is super loaded with the freshest of veggies. The offerings rotate. One day the salad will have broccoli, the next, sliced beet and apple. The rice is chock full of carrots, onions and green veggies. Sometimes there is delicious guacamole, sometimes grilled onions and jalapeños — always an opulent array. Are those turmeric onions nestled alongside my mole? Yes, thank you. Perfectly browned tortillas and a delicious trio of salsas just add to the excitement of the experience.

The accompanying drinks are also designed to feed body and soul. Highlights for me – Turmeric Lemonade, the Sweet Sunrise and the Pick Me Up. Granted – those are the only ones I have tried.

I totally forgot to mention the full and expressive espresso bar, the school bus kitchen, the tranquil back patio, the charming catering truck and the evolving and rotating menus.

Each plate at La Chaiteria is super loaded with the freshest of veggies. The offerings rotate. One day the salad will have broccoli, the next, sliced beet and apple. Turmeric onions nestle the mole.

Whether you are on a solo date — with or without a decent book, meeting a friend, sitting with your love, girlie dating your mom or entertaining out-of-towners, I recommend La Chaiteria.

This charming transformed mini mart in the heart of Menlo Park always feels worth leaving home for, each and every time. La Chaiteria is woman-owned, it is part of our fabric, it is Tucson.

Learn more at

Subscribe to stay connected to Tucson. A subscription helps you access more of the local stories that keep you connected to the community.

Stay up-to-date on what's happening

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News