by Mary Cokenour
Parking lot full, parking on the street stretches from the corner and past the restaurant, patient patrons sit or stand inside the entry way waiting.
That’s right, it’s Mexican Night at the R & F Restaurant in Monticello!
Locals plan on this special night of dining, tourists are very lucky they were directed here, or just stopped in.
Ray and Fana Arballo, with the help of Gen Atencio, have been serving up their version of diner comfort food for nine years now, but Wednesday has always been the special night.
Fana admits that they tried doing the specials twice a week, but then it just was not very special anymore.
Knowing the fresh made, stupendously delicious Mexican delicacies are only available once a week is what the locals enjoy most, the planning to go out, and looking forward to it.
Families, couples, even solos greet each other cheerfully and catch up on local and county news.
Fana works her way around the tables greeting everyone, asking how everyone is doing, are they enjoying the food. Ray likes being back in the kitchen, but took a moment to come sit with us and talk about R & F.
Ray and Fana were both born and raised in Monticello, UT. Being of Mexican descent (Ray’s mother is from New Mexico of Spanish/Apache descent, his dad from East LA, but originally Mexico), this trio knows how to do it up homemade and authentic.
All meats are purchased locally through Blue Mountain Meats, Utah’s Own products are delivered via wholesalers Nicholas and Company, and the potatoes are pure Idaho born and raised.
Tortillas are cut up and deep fried for the chips or lightly deep fried to get the shape for a taco, then finished up on the grill.
The salsa, served with the chips, is freshly made. Clean, pure taste of the tomatoes, onions and chile peppers comes on strong, with medium heat that makes the back of the tongue do the cha-cha.
The Smothered Burrito is a good one pounder, packed with shredded beef, chicken, or ground beef. While both the red and green chile sauce (medium heat) are delicious on their own, I particularly enjoy the “half and half” or “Christmas style” which is a generous topping of both sauces.
Sides are Spanish Rice, Refried Beans; moist, flavorful, and the garnish of chopped lettuce and tomatoes simply adds more texture and flavor. Sour cream is by request.
The Enchiladas are topped with melted cheese, which makes a delicious meal even yummier! As I stated before, the Tacos are finished up on the grill and packed with meat, freshly chopped lettuce and tomatoes.
Make sure to ask for more of the salsa that came with the chips if you want to punch up the flavor combinations even more.
Sopapilla, a deep fried tortilla that puffs up, comes with each meal, along with a packet of honey. I always make sure to leave room for this treat!
Along with the Mexican specialties, R & F offers its regular menu as well: a salad bar packed with fresh vegetables and dressings. Homemade pies are available featuring cherry, blueberry and apple.
R&F Restaurant: friendly owners and staff, welcoming atmosphere, comforting food at reasonable prices.
Oh, for Pioneer Week, veterans will be offered meals at special discounts, so make sure to ask about this. Thank you for serving in the military and protecting our country.
R&F Restaurant, 149 East Center Street (Hwy 491), Monticello, UT, 84535, phone 435-587-2440
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Wednesday is Mexican Food Night