Can you taste love? Yes, when it’s the primary ingredient in beautiful, savory dishes, served with soothing music, in an atmosphere that stirs memories of young love. This is the fare at El Local restaurant on Avenida P. Elias Calles between Dukes and Thrifty Ice Cream.
The restaurant is yet another culinary branch of the Palacio family tree. This one started by Genesis Campos, a third-generation restaurateur.
“I grew up floating between hotels and restaurants. I was always in the kitchen, either at home or at one of the family restaurants. When my grandpa was at Puesta del Sol, we were always around the kitchen – the chef would invite us in.”
The Palacio family still operates the restaurant at Playa Bonita, her mother Laura has the very successful El Tapeo wine bar and tapas restaurant, which now also includes wood-fire pizzas.
After high school, Genesis went into business school with a major in hospitality, studying at Universidad del Valle de Mexico in Hermosillo and a year studying in Canada.
“It was mandatory for me to learn all aspects of the business – administration and housekeeping as well as culinary,” she said. ”I like the resort industry but I wanted more contact, more bonding, with the people. I very much like the restaurant part.”
She opened El Local in October of 2021, serving “desayuno,” which in the Spanish and Mexican culture is what might be considered brunch in the U.S. Chef Omar Madera has been with her since the restaurant opened. Together they created the dishes now offered on the menu.
“I come to him with ideas and we bring it all together. Sometimes it takes two or three tries to get it just right. This was the case with “Indeciso,” (confusion, because it incorporates savory, salty and sweet flavors all in one dish).
The menu includes U.S.-style bacon and eggs, French toast, and waffles with fruit, then it veers off to eggs Benedict on an herbal artisan bread and tops out with hearty open-face sandwiches to name just a few of the entrées.
Genesis said she likes to stay loyal to her Sonoran roots so many dishes include machaca, the savory ingredient made from Sonoran beef. But their signature dish starts with sopes, the thick, corn-flour bread that she called a gordita corn tortilla, topped with beans, chicharron and poached egg, garnished with shredded, deep fried zucchini. So many flavors!
Many of the dishes incorporate artisan breads, including brioche, loafs with lots of herbs and spices and soon they’ll be making sour dough.
“Omar has so much talent and now he wants to be a bread master,” she said. “I sent him to take a course on sourdough. We started working on it in September. It will be on the menu soon.”
All of the dishes are beautifully plated, overflowing with flavor and love. “I do think that if you are doing anything with love, it turns out great – especially in the kitchen,” she said.
That love is carried into the dining area where Valentine accents abound and where you’ll see dozens of original paintings. Most were created by her mother Laura at El Tapeo’s weekly Paint and Sip events; but four were painted by Iker the 8-year-old son of Genesis and her husband Ezequiel. Iker (his name means bearer of good news), shows a distinct talent for art. Perhaps one day he will pursue the culinary arts, representing the next generation on the Palacio family tree.
El Local is open daily, except Wednesdays, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Genesis said she may soon extend closing to 6 p.m., so she can offer more lunch (almuerzo) options. No matter what time you enjoy your meal there, you can start your day with love.
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The dining room and the kitchen at El Local abound with messages of love.
Together, El Local owner Genesis Campo and Chef Omar Madera create unique and flavorful meals for breakfast and lunch.