Serrano’s Mexican Food is a piece of Chandler history

The story of Serrano’s Mexican Food begins a century ago in Chandler. (Courtesy Serrano's Mexican Food)
The story of Serrano’s Mexican Food begins a century ago in Chandler. (Courtesy Serrano's Mexican Food)

The story of Serrano’s Mexican Food begins a century ago in Chandler. (Courtesy Serrano's Mexican Food)

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The story of Serrano’s Mexican Food begins a century ago in Chandler. The Serrano family owned and operated a dry goods store called The Popular Store; the family business eventually morphed into Serrano’s Department Store, which was run by Ernie Serrano, his uncle and his grandfather.

In 1979, Ernie and Eva Serrano decided to strike out and start up a restaurant in downtown Chandler across the street from the department store.

“My mom is a fantastic cook,” Ric Serrano said. “We would have a big Sunday dinner with beans, tortillas, everything. That Sunday dinner turned into La Casa Serrano.”

Theresa Serrano said her parents worked incredibly hard while running the restaurant.

“They were always here,” Theresa said. “Our mom was always decked out and looking nice, and my dad dressed up every evening for dinner. They had such a great work ethic—that’s what made it so good. Chandler is our home. It was like having friends over to Ernie and Eva’s for dinner.”


The Serrano family has been in Chandler for 100 years, Ric said. The city even honored them at a Chandler City Council meeting in late 2019. The family stays engaged with the community—in Chandler and beyond—as much as possible. They often work with Chandler police, and outside all five Serrano family restaurants, there are banners signaling support of police officers. The family also volunteers with St. Vincent de Paul once a month to feed the homeless.

“Our parents instilled in us a sense of giving,” Ric said. “If you’re getting something, you need to give back, and it’s a privilege to do it.”

The Serranos said their business—as have all other small businesses—has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

“COVID-19 has affected us drastically,” Ric said, and his sister noted that it is crucial for the community to support small businesses whenever possible.

“We support small businesses like ours as much as possible,” Theresa said. “We ask that everyone else do the same.”


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