XJ’s Casa Reynoso part of family restaurant tradition dating from 1938

Xavier Reynoso, Alicia Reynoso, XJ's Casa Reynoso
Xavier and Alicia Reynoso met at Mesa High School and now operate XJ's Casa Reynoso together. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

Xavier and Alicia Reynoso met at Mesa High School and now operate XJ's Casa Reynoso together. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

When Xavier Reynoso Jr. opened his restaurant in Gilbert in October 2018 with his wife and high school sweetheart, Alicia, he was keeping up his family’s tradition.

The Reynosos have been making Sonoran-style Mexican food in restaurants since three sisters, including Xavier’s great-grandmother, opened a place in 1938 in the Globe-Miami area 70 miles east of Gilbert. The family now has three in that area.

Xavier’s grandparents run a longstanding Casa Reynoso in Tempe, and his parents own Xavier’s Casa Reynoso in Mesa. Xavier counts 13 family-owned restaurants in Arizona, plus an uncle with a food truck.

Xavier calls it “history repeating itself.”

Xavier started getting paid at his parents’ restaurant at 16, but the work started before then—somewhere between age 12 and 14, learning recipes at his dad’s side.


“My grandmother taught my dad,” he said. “My dad taught me. My mom knows some stuff. My wife knows some stuff, but it’s literally the recipes get passed down. There’s no book. It’s not written down. It should be, but it’s not.”

Those recipes are the key to distinguishing themselves in something of a foodie town with no shortage of Mexican restaurants, Xavier said.

“Being around for that many years—if anyone’s gone through Globe, either going to [Roosevelt] Lake or going up north, they’re going to stop at one of my family’s restaurants,” he said. “And they’re going to see the difference between what that kind of food is, the Sonoran-style made from scratch, to something else.”

Sonoran style means flour tortillas with more beef and spices found in the Mexican state of Sonora. Xavier also brings in fresh Hatch chiles from New Mexico. Everything is still made from scratch.

“We pride ourselves on our hands on the food at all times,” he said. “It’s always the family here. And that’s how it’s got to be.”

Xavier and Alicia finally decided it was time for them to open their own restaurant a couple years ago in their town, Gilbert.

“A lot of people said, ‘Good luck with working all day,’” Xavier said. “We want to do this. That’s what we did it for. We’re doing good. Gilbert is really a good community.”

Salsa you can drink

One customer favorite is the salsa, which co-owner Xavier Reynoso said is unique from others. How so?

“Whatever spices I use in it,” he said with a grin. “It’s a secret.”

The salsa is so popular he has seen customers, even employees, drink it.

“I walked out one day, and [an employee] was having a meal and he had his straw in the salsa,” Xavier said. “I go, ‘You missed the cup.’ He goes, ‘No, I didn’t.’”

XJ’s Casa Reynoso

1661 S. Val Vista Drive, Ste. 109, Gilbert

480-534-8403

https://xjscasareynoso.com

Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., closed Sun.
By Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


MOST RECENT

The location's decor will pay homage to the town's history as the "Hay Shipping Capital of the World." (Courtesy Cracker Barrel Old Country Store)
Cracker Barrel coming to Gilbert; wine bar set for Chandler and more top Phoenix-area news

Read the most popular news from the past week in Chandler and Gilbert.

Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona Department of Health Services announced Jan. 14 the launch of a second vaccination site after the success of the state's first 24/7 vaccination site at State Farm Stadium in Glendale. The second location will be at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Arizona to add second vaccination center after successes at State Farm Stadium in Glendale

Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona Department of Health Services announced Jan. 14 the launch of a second vaccination site after the success of the state's first 24/7 vaccination site at State Farm Stadium in Glendale. The second location will be at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

Here is a look at the latest COVID-19 updates from Chandler USD. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Chandler USD to return to in-person learning Jan. 19

The Chandler USD governing board voted for students to return to campuses Jan. 19.

Gilbert Town Council inauguration
Brigette Peterson sworn in as Gilbert mayor with council members Scott Anderson, Kathy Tilque

Brigette Peterson was sworn in as the 33rd mayor of Gilbert on Jan. 12, ending a nearly yearlong shuffling of the Town Council

Cracker Barrel Old County Store
Cracker Barrel sets Feb. 8 opening date in Gilbert

The location's decor will pay homage to the town's history as the "Hay Shipping Capital of the World."

Here is what you need to know today about coronavirus in Gilbert. (Community Impact Newspaper)
COVID-19: Gilbert cases increase by 295 Jan. 14

The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 22,346 COVID-19 cases overall in Gilbert's six ZIP codes Jan. 14. That is an increase of 295 from the previous day and a 12.44% increase in the past seven days.

Here are the coronavirus hospitalization data updates to know across Arizona. (Community Impact staff)
Number of people hospitalized, in ICU with COVID-19 statewide surpasses summer peak

Here are the coronavirus hospitalization data updates to know across Arizona.

Jack Sellers is the new chair for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. (Courtesy Maricopa County)
Jack Sellers named Maricopa County Board of Supervisors chair

Jack Sellers is the new chair for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

Gilbert Water Tower
Gilbert looks to fill attorney position on judicial selection and advisory board

The town of Gilbert is seeking a licensed attorney to serve a three-year term on the judicial selection and advisory board.

A new Culver's opened in Gilbert on Dec. 7. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
Culver's open in Gilbert and more top Phoenix-area news

Read the most popular news from the past week from the Phoenix area.

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health announced Jan. 6 that it will open vaccination scheduling for Phase 1B, which includes K-12 staff, law enforcement and adults over age 75. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Maricopa County to enter Phase 1B of vaccine distribution next week

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health announced Jan. 6 that it will open vaccination scheduling for Phase 1B, which includes K-12 staff, law enforcement and adults over age 75.

Jared Taylor
Gilbert Town Council salutes ailing Jared Taylor as he completes term

Council Member Jared Taylor attended his final Gilbert Town Council meeting remotely from home while recovering from COVID-19.