For those looking for an after-dinner sweet treat, there are solid desserts as well. A tres leches cake with berry compote is fresh and flavorful, especially with bites of its whipped cream topping and sprinkling of pecans, but it's hard to pass up the decadent deep-fried and sugary churro with cajeta (caramelized goat's milk) as the go-to meal ender.

Esparza's knack for decorating in a way that's both tasteful and eclectic gives Barrio Queen an upbeat atmosphere with lots of eye candy. Among rich fabrics, tile work, and flooring, there are groups of hanging colored lights, window stencils, Mexican crafts and local artwork, and framed family photos. There's a nice patio and a welcoming dining room with subdued Mexican music playing overhead, but it's the small cantina-like area of the restaurant that I like the best. With its shiny, rust-colored tiles, comfortable booths, overhead cages filled with bottles of tequila, and a black and white Mexican film playing in the background, it's perfect for knocking back a few libations and a mix of tacos with boisterous friends, and it seems most suited to what Barrio Queen was always meant to be.

Unfortunately, the service, although friendly and helpful, can often be frustrating in the area of simple, expected tasks. Dirty dishes were frequently left to sit at my table, water glasses went unfilled, and checks were delivered without asking if there were any other orders.

Barrio Queen's 30 varieties of street-size tacos range from the familiar to the exotic — and many of them are excellent.
Jackie Mercandetti
Barrio Queen's 30 varieties of street-size tacos range from the familiar to the exotic — and many of them are excellent.

Location Info

Map

Barrio Queen Tequileria

7114 E. Stetson Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Central Scottsdale

Details

Barrio Queen
7114 East Stetson Drive, Scottsdale
480-656-4197
www.barrioqueen.com
Summer hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Regular hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday

Tacos: $2.50-$4.75
Arizona burrito: $11
Enchiladas Silvana: $16
Pollo a la coco: $19

This year has been a busy one for Esparza. On the heels of opening two new restaurants (and closing one of them), she's celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Barrio Cafe and has recently opened its Sky Harbor Airport location in Terminal 4. With the sudden flood of activity, perhaps the notable chef is simply stretched too thin at the moment to focus on the day-to-day operations of Barrio Queen. But the fact that Esparza had the foresight (and the humility) to quickly close a new restaurant that she didn't feel right about may be an indication that she's also able to recognize that Barrio Queen still needs her help to become the place that she originally envisioned it to be — and that her customers desperately want.

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6 comments
blucie
blucie

Barrio Queen is open on Sundays in the summer... under Details it says it is closed. That is a mistake.

Treycraft
Treycraft

I,ve been going weekly at happy hour for awhile. As well as other times. I want it to work. Service is subpar and un focused. I liked the family style offerings and staffing in feb and march. Why is the main, back bar never open? Go, Sylvana, Go! Glad you are persevering!

ChefMEXICANA
ChefMEXICANA

Here is another insight: It’s different in Scottsdale! The biggest challenge was opening up to a 50 seat taqueria at BQ with a 2 hour wait coupled with bad staff and even worse managers who could not handle the crowds or amount and style of work. I am on my 4th manager in Scottsdale. This one has been working hard to correct all those bad habits. There lies my problems, plus opening another restaurant in June. Yesterday, I made a deal with my brother, Agustin Salcido, my chef at Barrio Café for 5 years. He starts in two weeks. The new and final menu are in the works and it’s back to the original story with BQ. Watch! Gracias, attentamente, Silvana

Laura Hahnefeld
Laura Hahnefeld

Thank you, Mitch. Appreciate the additional information.

Mitch
Mitch

Thanks, Laura, for a very insightful review. We just went back last week, after having a semi-bad experience in January. (We're longtime fans of Barrio Cafe and Silvana, so it was hard to stay away from B.Queen for so long.) One of the things we had liked about our 1st visit was the fun, extensive menu - I was disappointed that it was gone; but, we did enjoy the much improved service. (We actually asked whether Silvana was there, and were told that she has not been around very often.) Your article answers a lot of the questions that we left with, and we share the hope that she gets the time to raise the Queen to the heights many of us are hoping to see (taste) it reach.

kurt
kurt

The meal we had at this restaurant in June 2012 was the "worst service" of my life.  I am embarassed to say we waited over 40 minutes to pay our tab in an empty restaurant.  I cannot believe we paid so much for such shoddy service. 

 
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