Florence

Feeding Florence for six generations

This restaurant shares Mexican recipes passed down through generations as well as dishes created with a contemporary twist

There is a rich Mexican heritage in the town of Florence, one of the oldest European settlements in the state of Arizona. In fact, only 12 years before the town was founded in 1866, the area was still considered a part of Sonora, the northernmost state of Mexico.

According to Mario Lizarraga, owner of the local L&B Inn Mexican restaurant, the town has retained much of its Mexican heritage since being handed over to the United States in the Gadsden Purchase of 1854. And having been in business since 1975, Lizarraga said his authentic family restaurant—the oldest private business in town—is rich with a history as robust as the rock foundation on which the adobe facade stands.

Preserving history through cuisine

Today, the sixth generation of the Lizarraga family is using the recipes that have been passed down over more than a century, and Lizarraga said that the Sonoran-style cuisine served at L&B Inn is “without a doubt” authentic.

“Six generations proves that,” he said. “My great, great, great-grandmother fed the stagecoaches that used to pass through Florence in the 1870s.

“Each generation has had its influence and additions, but the fundamentals are all still in place. We use simple ingredients cooked from scratch. Our main cook—who knows our family recipes—is Pat Listo, and has been with our family for 30 years.”

Flavourful fusion

Lizarraga said that the restaurant’s most popular dish—the Pollo Fundido—is not authentic Mexican, but “has the variety of flavours that contemporary palates crave.” His personal favourite, though, remains the beef chorizo.

“This is my grandfather’s recipe and it has the perfect blend of flavours,” Lizarraga said.

Prepared carefully by hand, the “great chorizo” recipe calls for ground beef, fresh chili molido, red chili powder, crushed red chilies, garlic, salt, oregano and red wine vinegar.

To taste L&B’s authentic chorizo, its popular hot sauce, enchilada sauce or red chili, or the palate-pleasing Pollo Fundido, Lizarraga welcomes visitors to stop by the restaurant. The L&B Inn is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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