Nine on the Line: Suzana Davila of Cafe Poca Cosa

Suzana Davila was born in Guaymas, Sonora, where her father owned a restaurant. He didn’t encourage a restaurant life, but she couldn’t stay away for long.

After Davila moved to Tucson at age 15, she became a fashion model and interior designer. However, she later ended up also starting her own hole-in-the-wall restaurant with only six tables. Lines started forming out the door at the colorful Cafe Poca Cosa and before long, she caught the eye of Food Network, New York Times, and Gourmet Magazine.

The restaurant relocated twice while a smaller, breakfast and lunch focused offshoot “Little Cafe Poca Cosa” became The Little One, which Davila’s sisters Sandra and Marcela run today. While the Little One is open for breakfast and lunch with the colorful rustic vibe, Cafe Poca Cosa exists in a separate space for lunch and dinner with a sleek and modern vibe.

Over 30 years since the original opening, Davila has grown Cafe Poca Cosa into one of Tucson’s most iconic restaurants. Don’t miss out on their mole and the Plato Poca Cosa.

1) What was the first dish you had that changed your perspective on food?

Mole. The complexity of the dish is fascinating. All of the ingredients elevate the dish to a whole other level.

2) What are you eating these days?

I eat everything.

3) What was the first dish you remember cooking?

Pollo con chile guajillo con queso fundido y especias.

Plato Poca Cosa at Cafe Poca Cosa owner (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Plato Poca Cosa at Cafe Poca Cosa owner (Credit: Jackie Tran)

4) What concept, ingredient, or food trend are you experimenting with these days?

I’m constantly experimenting with chiles and spices to create new broths, sauces, and creams.

5) Who would you most like to cook or eat dinner with?

My family. There’s no one else I’d rather cook with. We have such a good time when we’re together.

6) What city, other than Tucson, is your favorite place to eat?

Having traveled around the word I would have to pick Paris as my favorite place to eat.

7) Speaking in junk food terms, what is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Although I love imported European chocolates, my go-to junk food is a Hershey’s chocolate bar with almonds.

8) Which three Tucson restaurants do you frequent the most, aside from your own?

In no specific order — Silver Saddle Steakhouse, Tanque Verde Ranch, and Kingfisher.

9) With a figurative electric chair in your immediate future, what is your last meal?

Fabulous salad with fresh greens, steak, and lobster.

Catch chef Suzana Davila at Cafe Poca Cosa at 110 E. Pennington St. For more information, visit

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit and his Instagram @jackie_tran_.