Nine on the Line: Chef Mateo Otero from Rollies Mexican Patio

"Nine on the Line" is a chef Q&A series asking a different chef nine questions in each article.

A Tucson native, Mateo Otero began his culinary career at the University of Arizona at the age of 14. Influenced by his grandfather from Hermosillo, Otero always had a passion for Mexican cuisine along with cooking and feeding others.

Otero graduated from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute in 2006 and worked for the fraternity Alpha Epsilon Phi, followed by the sorority Gamma Phi Beta.

After a diverse culinary career ranging from washing dishes to helping open Mexican restaurants and gastropubs, Otero opened Rollies Mexican Patio in December 2017. The restaurant serves modern interpretations of old family recipes in a vibrant, fun, and comfortable atmosphere.

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


2) What are you eating these days?

I love anything eggs & bacon.

3) What was the first dish you remember cooking?

Chorizo, bacon & pancakes. I was 5.

Chicken Rollies Tacos at Rollies Mexican Patio (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Chicken Rollies Tacos at Rollies Mexican Patio (Credit: Jackie Tran)

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

Sonoran home-style cooking.

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

Rick Bayless.

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


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

Ice cream.

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

Westover Swap Meet. 30 restaurants to choose from.

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

Street tacos — pastor, tripas, carne asada.

Catch Mateo Otero at Rollies Mexican Patio, 4573 S. 12th Ave. 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_.