Don’t confuse this spot for the chain of similar-named restaurants—there’s only one Barrio Café. Since opening in the early 2000s, the Calle 16 original has become a fixture in Phoenix for regional Mexican favorites. There are two main reasons why: the tableside guacamole—which is great, by the way—and chef Silvana Salcido Esparza’s community involvement and civil rights activism. When the pandemic hit and the restaurant was closed, she provided free food to the neighborhood from the empty parking lot, which is pretty much back to its normal state nowadays: full.
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