El Guero Canelo

Hot Dog | Mexican | Southwestern
One of the best

No one has been able to provide conclusive proof of where the Sonoran hot dog first took shape — northern Mexico or southern Arizona — but there is little doubt that the continent’s most baroque wiener, which first appeared at street carts in Tucson in the late 1960s, found its chief proponent in 1993 when the Contreras family opened El Guero Canelo. Differences among the city’s many “hot dogs estilo Sonora” are subtle, but no one could dispute that the one served by this happy restaurant is a benchmark.

As made at the cart to the side of the al fresco dining area, each bacon-wrapped beef dog is nestled deep within a big, supple Mexican bun as yeasty as a dinner roll, cut to form a pocket with closed ends that shore in the massive onslaught of condiments. The hot dog is accoutered with chopped tomatoes and onions, a few pinto beans, hot jalapeno sauce, yellow mustard and mayonnaise: a beautifully-balanced package. For those who crave maximum meat, El Guero Canelo’s menu also lists a Sammy Dog: two in one bun, equally well-dressed.

An entire kitchen, apart from the hot dog cart, offers a wide choice of Mexican dishes, from huevos rancheros and breakfast burros to weekend menudo, the posole and tripe hangover remedy that is available with or without ox foot. Dress-your-own tacos are wonderful when filled with juicy, brightly-spiced carne asada.

El Guero Canelo is extremely casual but in no way sloppy. We felt as well-tended by the staff as in a linen-table dining room, but eating here is so much more fun. Mexican party music plays on the loud speaker, regularly interrupted by a scratchy electric voice calling out numbers to let people know their food is ready to be picked up.

What to Eat
El Guero Canelo, Sonoran Hot Dog
Sonoran Hot Dog
El Guero Canelo's excellent Sonoran Dogs are something I crave from far away. That's a Sammy Dog (with two wieners) in the front, a regular Sonoran dog in the back.
El Guero Canelo, Sammy Dog
Sammy Dog
The surfeit of condiments prohibits you from seeing that this is not an ordinary Sonoran hot dog. It is a Sammy dog: two in one bun. The bun is big and bready, so a double dose makes sense.
El Guero Canelo, Caramelo
Caramelos come with carne asada or chicken, but otherwise plain. It's up to each customer to fetch condiments from a cart in the al fresco dining area.
El Guero Canelo, Horchata
The beverages here are not to be missed. That's sweet horchata on the left, jamaica on the right.
El Guero Canelo, Flan
For dessert, the soft, spongy flan in a rich caramel sauce.
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday10am - 10pm
Monday10am - 10pm
Tuesday10am - 10pm
Wednesday10am - 10pm
Thursday10am - 10pm
Friday10am - 12am
Saturday10am - 12am
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
3 stops | 8 MILES | 24 min

Scores of vendors throughout Tucson sell the outlandish "hot-dog estilo Sonora," each adding a personal twist to a formula that starts with a supple Mexican bun and a bacon-sheathed hot dog cooked to the point that bacon flavor melts into the dog, leaving the outside patched with streaks of lean. The full condiment line-up includes…

5 stops | 8 MILES | 27 min

Among the countless Mexican restaurants in Tucson, these five give the best feel for the amazing range of styles and specialties, from the outlandish Sonoran hot dogs at El Guero Canelo to humble neighborhood tacos at Pico de Gallo, and to chef Suzanna Davila's magnificent meals at Cafe Poca Cosa, where you never know what…

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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