A Matter of Taste: Alejandro’s Mexican Kitchen Moves to a New Physical Location |


Gail G. Collins

Georgette Quintero has always sought creative solutions. When opportunities presented themselves, such as his daughter attending Northern Arizona University, finding space to store supplies for his food truck business, or securing commercial space during the pandemic as other businesses struggled, Quintero found a way forward.

“I go the extra mile, think outside the box, and always ask the question, ‘What’s next?'” she said.

As the owner of Alejandro’s Mexican Food, the newest restaurant in Heritage Square in Flagstaff, Quintero loves a change. And as a family, they are together. College initiated its move from Phoenix to Flagstaff; everyone came with their daughter, Quintero said simply. His children, Alejandro and Ariana, are now adults and work in the business, while high school student Joey helps out.

Alejandro’s Mexican Food opened slowly in April with a lot of maneuvering behind the scenes. COVID-19 complicated things, but was no excuse. Quintero had been looking for retail space for months, hoping to buy, and lease negotiations took a long time. With tense situations in 2020, landlords gave current tenants breaks to hang on, but there were no concessions for new businesses coming behind them.

People also read…

The change from the Italian restaurant to the Mexican canteen was simple and convenient with a full kitchen and stylish seating in place of the previous tenant.

“It was already turnkey down to the colors,” Quintero said. “Green, white and red – the Italian flag has the same color blocks as the Mexican flag.”

Alejandro’s, named after his eldest son, started as a food truck in the fall of 2017. Reputation grew in scope to two trucks, based on a solid selection of burritos and street tacos with artisanal toppings. Nachos, quesadillas and carne asada, which continues to win raves, rounded out his recipe for a successful business model.

According to Quintero, running a food truck is much more difficult than operating in a fixed location.

“There’s not a lot of electricity, water and enough space to store food,” she said. “We needed to develop and grow.

Winning the Coconino Community College cafe gave him a dedicated kitchen for the first time. Yet, from the outset, the plan was always to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant. What distinguishes Alejandro’s is the effort of continuous improvement, regularly updating the menu.

“Recipes evolve because I tweak them over time at 9 or 10 at night after closing – it’s hard on my weight,” she said with a laugh.

Each evening, Quintero acts as food critic, tasting a dish as it is presented to customers with a drink. Then the brainstorming on the ingredients or the topping or… Recently, fried ice cream was the project. It starts with a taste goal, a list of ingredients and decisions – cornflake or breadcrumbs? Such ratings drive Quintero.

The new upscale presentation of familiar dishes includes the signature carne asada, served as a steak with rice, beans and a garnish of sliced ​​spider peppers. Homemade burros, chimichangas, tacos, or tostados are stuffed with a choice of carne asada, carnitas, or pollo, and come fully loaded with extras, like guacamole, rice, and beans. The trendy taco birria is sweet and sour, spicy and salty slow cooked beef.

Ceviche is Mexico’s answer to sushi with shrimp marinated in lime juice, cucumber, tomato, onion, cilantro and queso fresco – a lively summer choice. More seafood and oysters will expand customer options.

The flan is a distinct recipe of creamy pastry cream, strawberries, chocolate sauce and fresh whipped cream. It’s almost too good to eat, but too wonderful to miss. Or be a kid again and order an ice cream with a churro.

Craft drinks offer quality, such as horchata, a traditional drink made from rice, sweetened and drizzled with cinnamon. Agua de Jamaica is a tangy and refreshing tea made from hibiscus flowers. Agua frescas drives away the thirst, but a liquor license will bring additional alternatives to Alejandro. The michelada, made with light beer, such as Tecate or Modelo, and mixed with tomato juice, lime and Worcestershire is bloody Maria, the perfect choice for brunch.

Alejandro’s is open daily, except Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for hearty, budget-friendly breakfast, lunch, and dinner. As the owner, it is a flourishing phenomenon.

Quintero’s business card lists all the hats she wears: owner, salesperson, chef, baker. She is nothing if she is not determined. Also, during the pandemic, when the school was closed, his food truck fed any child who couldn’t afford a meal.

“We work hard; we are nonstop soldiers,” she said. “We’re going to a restaurant – please bear with us, and it will be fantastic.”


Comments are closed.