At Lunch with the Roundup: Bobby Salazar’s

Photo by Ron Sundquist – Left to Right: Vice president Ken Melchor, Office Manager Caitie Reeg, Publisher Donna Melchor, Production Manager Billy Xiong, Editor Valerie Shelton, Reporter Carole Grosch, Bill Lovelady, and Sports Photographer Nick Baker.

By Valerie Shelton, Editor

Mexican food is a staple in the Central Valley. For those visiting Old Town Clovis this month for the big Clovis Rodeo, you don’t have to travel far to find those savory authentic Mexican dishes. Bobby Salazar’s located on Clovis Avenue in the heart of Old Town has an impressive menu with a variety of sizable options to meet any Mexican food craving.

Bobby Salazar’s has been the go-to Mexican restaurant in the Central Valley for many years, as is evident by the local chain’s many locations.

Bobby Salazar’s roots go back to the 1940s, when founder Bobby Salazar’s grandfather Sal started selling tacos and other Mexican food to local farm workers. According to the restaurant’s website, Sal started by building a shed from some scrap wood, which came from an old man who had planned to use it for a chicken coop but got too old to finish it. Sal offered the man $25, which was a lot for a peach picker at the time, and Sal got the wood and built until the wood ran out. His mom and dad (Bobby’s grandparents) Jose Maria and Antonia worked with him and the family’s hard work paid off as the local little restaurant became a favorite.

Sal eventually met his wife Eleanor and she helped him grow the business. Then they had Bobby and as soon as he was old enough he started working in the restaurant. After graduating, Bobby supervised the expansion of the family restaurant, which included a new building, catering and adding party trays to the menu.

Bobby Salazar’s popularity and exponential growth has even made the restaurant a legend outside the area, as the restaurant’s tasty salsas and a few frozen entrees have made it to supermarket shelves throughout the state and beyond. There is, however, nothing like having Bobby Salazar’s specialty dishes fresh from the chef’s kitchen.

Bobby Salazar’s has every Mexican dish you can imagine—burritos, tacos, tostadas, quesadillas and so on—and each dish can be made with varying meat and sauce choices.

On the Roundup’s recent trip to the Old Town location, we started by sharing the Nachos Grande appetizer with carne asada. It was large enough for our party of nine to share.

Everyone ordered something different for their entree. Reporter Carole Grosch got a quesadilla, photographer Ron Sundquist got a one item combination plate with a burrito, graphic designer Billy Xiong and sports photographer Nick Baker got what I call the dueling fancy burritos—Billy’s had chile verde sauce while Nick’s had the chile con carne sauce. Our publisher Donna Melchor, vice president Ken Melchor and family friend Bill Lovelady all ordered combination plates with tacos. Office Manager Caitie Reeg just had a light lunch of beans and rice. And then I had the almost-too-pretty-to-eat fajita tostada.

I can’t comment on everyone else’s meal, but I have to say I’ve been to Bobby Salazar’s many times and the fajita tostada is now my new favorite dish.

I’m a huge fan on the sizzling carne asada fajitas but as with most of the items at Bobby’s, the fajitas plate is huge. I also felt like a tostada because at least a tostada feels healthier because it has lettuce. It’s practically a salad right? I know the deep fried tortilla shell defeats whatever health properties the lettuce has, but a girl can dream. Anyway, I went with the combination of both worlds (the sizzling fajitia world and the delusional healthy tostada world) and ordered the terrific fajita tostada.

The fajita tostada could do wrong—the fried tortilla, carne asada, grilled onions and bell peppers, beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and guacamole all mixed together to create the perfect Mexican fiesta in my mouth.

As much as I love the fajita tostada, I don’t think you can go wrong with ordering anything at Bobby Salazar’s. Aside from the usual entrees, they are also known for their delicious shrimp cocktail appetizer and there large margaritas. The Old Town location also hosts karaoke on Friday and Saturday nights, so you can go belt out some tunes before or after loosening your belt thanks to the filling Mexican food.