Poco & Mom’s Cantina: Hearty New Mexican Dishes with Hatch Green Chile

Chile Rellenos are calling our name.

When a craving for Mexican food hits, it’s easy to find a delicious restaurant wherever you may be; this is Tucson, after all.

If you’re looking for New Mexican cuisine, however, it can be harder to find.

Hatch chile lovers, we’re here for you

Luckily for the Hatch-chile lovers, Poco & Mom’s Cantina is here to provide distinct flavors of ‘the land of enchantment.’

The spice of life

Mark Meabon, general manager at Poco & Mom’s Cantina, is often asked what the difference between Sonoran Mexican and New Mexican food is. His answer?

“New Mexican food is much more spicy,” he said.

The original location and growth to the second

Meabon recently took over the general manager position at Poco & Mom’s Cantina, which opened five years ago at the corner of Tanque Verde and Sabino Canyon Road.

Meabon has known and worked with the owner, Lori Sisemore since they met at Robert’s Cafe almost twenty years ago.

Sisemore went on to open the original Poco & Mom’s in 1999, which continues to serve breakfast and lunch at its cozy 22nd and Kolb location.

Sisemore wanted a location where she could also serve dinner and alcohol, and the Cantina was born.

Dining room at Poco & Mom's Cantina (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Dining room at Poco & Mom’s Cantina (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The Cantina

Poco & Mom’s Cantina looks like it belongs in the center of a New Mexican town.

The adobe-style walls, tiled floors, and wooden beams are nostalgic callbacks to a quainter kind of architecture.

The interior is warm and inviting and feels like you’ve left Tucson behind.

“People have followed us from the original location here,” Meabon said. “Really good people who love the food and the atmosphere.”

Customers are certainly passionate about the food; when Meabon was asked about the most popular dish, several tables immediately chimed in to declare the Chile Rellenos as the winner.

This breaded and fried chile comes smothered in the diner’s choice of red, green, or sour cream green chile sauce — all signature New Mexican sauces.

Chile Rellenos at Poco & Mom's Cantina (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Chile Rellenos at Poco & Mom’s Cantina (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Traditional recipes and popular dishes

Sisemore’s recipes are authentic and traditional, taught to her during her time in New Mexico.

In addition to the Chile Rellenos, a popular dish is the Best of New Mexico Combination Plate, piled high with one green chile chicken enchilada, one chile relleno, and one red chile shredded beef taco — all alongside rice and beans.

Best of New Mexico Combination Plate at Poco & Mom's Cantina (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Best of New Mexico Combination Plate at Poco & Mom’s Cantina (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Open for breakfast

Breakfast, which is served all day, is also full of New Mexican classics.

The Silver City Breakfast includes hash browns and grilled onions topped with Hatch green chile sauce, cheese, and eggs, and is served with beans and a tortilla.

The Santa Fe Breakfast features another New Mexican staple — blue corn tortillas — and is topped with red or green chile sauce, cheese, and eggs.

Silver City Breakfast with carne asada at Poco & Mom's Cantina (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Silver City Breakfast with carne asada at Poco & Mom’s Cantina (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Poco & Mom’s Cantina has a full bar and their inventive cocktail program features the beloved Hatch green chile in several drinks, including a margarita and Bloody Maria that have green chile-infused tequila.

And if that’s not enough green chile to satisfy you, the Hatch Green Chile Sauce is available to purchase by the jar.

The chiles are roasted before they’re blended into the spicy and savory sauce that sets New Mexican cuisine apart.

“This place is all about the Hatch chiles,” Meabon said.

Patio at Poco & Mom's Cantina (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Patio at Poco & Mom’s Cantina (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Operating hours

The Poco & Mom’s Diner (original), located at 1060 S. Kolb Rd., is open from 6 a.m. – 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

Poco & Mom’s Cantina, located at 7000 E. Tanque Verde Rd., is open from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

For more information, visit pocoandmoms.com.

Samantha Colaianni has family roots in Tucson that go back before the Gadsden Purchase. When she's not cooking Mexican food, she's baking Mexican pastries.