Dishing Out Local Love: PAZ Cantina

by Mychael Ramirez

Phoenix Suns Charities are teaming up with Local First Arizona to offer grants to Valley restaurants to provide meals to those in need impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Paz Cantina, located off Third Street and Roosevelt, kicked off the initiative by providing cheer and a delicious meal to those in need during Chicanos Por La Causa De Colores Shelter’s Mother’s Day celebration. The annual event has been hosted for more than 34 years was nearly canceled due to complications created by COVID-19. Paz Cantina stepped up big with an assist from Phoenix Suns Charities to provide 65 meals to residents at the shelter.

To highlight our local community partners, we connected with Paz Cantina Marketing Director and Event Coordinator Viktor Math to share more about the local restaurant, the partnership with the Phoenix Suns and giving back to the community.

Can you provide a little history of Paz Cantina?

Paz Cantina first opened in 2014 on the corner of Third Street and Roosevelt right in the heart of the Roosevelt Row Art District. We began serving authentic Mexican food and establishing our roots Downtown, our initial restaurant was pretty small with space for people to enjoy food and drinks outside. After a couple of years of operation, the corner our restaurant was on went under construction to make way for the Broadstone Roosevelt Row Apartments and an all-new, bigger Paz Cantina was built on the first floor and that’s where we are at today. In the two years without the restaurant, we kept the concept of Paz Cantina alive by serving our menu from a food truck that was later retired once our new restaurant opened in 2018.

What drives the passion behind Paz Cantina’s menu offerings?

At Paz Cantina we serve authentic Mexican food inspired by our Executive Chef Johanna Loarte’s hometown of Sonora, Mexico. We have all the classics from tacos to burros and enchiladas and also a variety of other offerings like sandwiches, salads and burgers. We strive to provide our customers with authentic Mexican cuisine and have something for everyone.

What does it mean to you to be a part of the iconic Roosevelt Row Art District and the Downtown Phoenix culture?

It’s very important to us, that is what truly connects us with the community is being a part of such an important part of Phoenix. We enjoy being right in the middle of First Fridays and sharing food, drinks and music to everyone who comes downtown. That is what being a part of the Roosevelt Row community is all about.

How important is giving back to the community to Paz Cantina and teaming up with the Phoenix Suns?

Everybody in Phoenix loves the Suns, and we love the Suns as well. I think it is important to support local communities and support each other, our approach is to just be here for the community. There are so many large restaurant chains that can out-market small businesses, it’s hard to compete, so it means a lot for an organization like the Suns to help. The more support we can give, the more the local community can grow together.

What are your current restaurant capabilities and what are some current offerings you would like to highlight?

Right now, we’re open for takeout only and offering a 20 percent every order from our entire menu, food and drink. We also have a great family meal special right now, its 10 tacos with rice and beans for only $25. We also have larger catering platters for bigger families and gatherings as well. As I mentioned earlier, we have a wide variety of options on our menu, there is something for everyone.

We are not planning on opening back up for dine-in right away, but we will continue to monitor and abide state regulations when we decide to move forward.

Why is it important to support local businesses?

We are all one community. Paz is a small business in Arizona and just one of many in the Roosevelt Row area, it is important that we all continue to help out other businesses and restaurants. We want to be here for the people and continue to provide good food and drinks for years to come. 

How has the coronavirus pandemic changed your business model?

We had to adapt to the situation with everything going on and switching to takeout orders only. We understand people are losing their jobs and not everyone has the pleasure to go out and eat, we’re thankful customers continue to spend their money by ordering food and drinks from us to-go. We’ve also been receiving several calls a day from people asking when we will reopen for dine-in, it feels good knowing people are excited to come back when they’re ready.

What is it going to take for small businesses to survive this difficult time?

Shop local. It will take the support from our community; we understand everyone has their own preferences but shopping at small businesses is the best way of helping them through this period of time. 

Phoenicians craving authentic Mexican cooking and eager to support a local restaurant giving back to its community can explore Paz Cantina’s menu and offerings at Stay up to date with its latest hours and specials by following them on Instagram @PazCantina and be on the lookout for more local restaurant profiles from the Phoenix Suns.


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