Tempe, AZ

Local Favorite Restaurant Closing

Greyson F

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Grab your food while you still can.Jed Owen/Unsplash

It’s been an uphill battle for restaurants throughout the Valley for nearly two years now. First came the forced shutdown for COVID-19, the delayed returns, and now there are staffing woes and product shortages. All of it adds up to extreme trouble for restaurants trying to simply tread and keep their heads above water. For one local favorite in Tempe, it looks like everything has finally caught up with them. 

La Fonda Mexican Restaurant & Cantina has been a Tempe staple since 1967, and yet the restaurant, found over on 1831 East Baseline Road, made an official announcement on its Facebook page earlier in the week. In the post, the restaurants stated current owners Ray and Janet Pedraza are retiring. The closing of the restaurant coincides with their retirement, as the final day of the restaurant will be November 7.

Now, for fans of the Mexican restaurant, there is a chance it may return in an updated form. The same post does say the restaurant will be passed down to a third generation, with hopes of it returning, in some capacity, within the next month or so. 

It’s not yet known what kind of changes the restaurant will make, or if it will actually open back up in some shape or form. Currently, the restaurant provides a fine-dining experience, running from 3 PM until 9 PM Monday through Thursday and 11 AM through 9 PM Friday through Sunday. 

Like other restaurants in Tempe and the Phoenix metro area, the restaurant has struggled with staffing problems, and while it has mostly avoided taking items off the menu, the recent food distribution shortage in Arizona will more than likely catch up with the restaurant. So, if the third generation of the family does decide to return, stay tuned for a change in hours of operation. 

If the restaurant continues, this will be the third generation of the same family to run La Fonda Mexican Restaurant & Cantina. The original opened in a now-defunct shopping center off on Scottsdale Road. It was a small, Sonoran-style restaurant, which Eloise Franklin opened while using handed-down recipes and inspiration from her great-grandmother. So, while the restaurant itself has been open for three generations, many of the menu items are at least five generations old. Eventually, the entire shopping center was torn down, which prompted the move from Scottsdale Road to the current East Baseline Road location. This move happened in 2012. 

To stay up to date on the restaurant and whether or not it does eventually reopen, make sure to follow the restaurant’s Facebook page

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