by Gary Gomez
"Quintessential Tucson since 1993" is how I would describe El Guero Canelo, a former Sonoran Hot Dog cart. There is some debate as to whether this is the best Sonoran Hot Dog. It may be just splitting hairs. I especially love this closed-in patio type restaurant. I have also dined at their N. Oracle location. The food is great at either. I have not dined at their East location on 22nd.
From the moment you enter you know this place is special. The laughter, chatting and just plain fun is obvious. People feel comfortable and welcome and get into the whole “fiesta” atmosphere. The staff is friendly and efficient. But when you ask about their menu, they are happy to explain. You don’t feel like a stranger.
Although I’m more of a hot dog purest, this dog rocks. I recommend you get a fork. I don’t see picking this thing up. It was plenty for me and only $2.60 but I can’t go without getting a carne asada taco with cabbage $1.99. When I add the “salsa bar” I was full for under five bucks! A word about the salsa bar, multiple salsa choices, an avocado sauce, radishes, cilantro, etc. etc. And the grilled onions (green onion top with the bulb attached) are awesome. If you like hot, you can also get grilled peppers. Sometimes I’ve had jalapenos and sometimes they are the hotter seranos.
Yes they have chicken tacos, burros, quesadillas, tortas. They are all good. Really hungry? Try the ½ lb. of carne asada with corn tortillas or the typical Tucson large thin flour tortilla. If you're REALLY REALLY hungry, you can also get a whole pound. Oh, the famous Sammy Dog is two hot dogs on one bun. Sorry no beer here, but several soda choices. The flan is excellent but they sometimes run out.
Take a friend or a group and have your own fiesta!
El Guero Canelo
5201 S 12th Ave
Gary Gomez is the editor of our Budget Tucson section: the art of enjoying Tucson & Southern Arizona on a tight budget.