Spices of Life at Rollies Mexican Patio!

Alicia, MeganM and Joe
April 27, 2022

A picture of Rollies Mexican Patio from the outside

One thing the three of us have in common is that we love to eat. So when co-author Alicia, the only Tucsonan in our small group, recommended a well-known, if not somewhat off-the-grid, restaurant that was popular with “the locals” we decided to check it out. The experience was marvelous!. 

Stepping inside Rollie’s Mexican Patio we were confronted with colors. The strikingly bright pink floor stands out among the colorful decor while ironically blending in perfectly with the vibrant environment. According to Emma, the employee that we interviewed, the story behind the bright pink color was simply due to the owner’s daughter asking for it to be pink. The walls are a simple white with turquoise trimming around the edges with brilliant artwork of the Pinata, which seems to be the face of the restaurant. Fun paintings and metalworks of lizards are plastered on the wall along with other eye-popping decorations that were created by local Tucson artists. 

That Is Some Good Food… and Drink!

We took a good amount of time looking over the ample number of Mexican specialties that the menu (seen displayed on a TV as soon as you walk in) had to offer. In addition to traditional items such as street tacos, enchiladas, and quesadillas, the menu also featured birria fries, birria ramen, and even concha ice cream sandwiches! They even have vegetarian-friendly burros. While almost every option sounded delightfully delicious, we decided to try the birria street tacos (one of their most popular dishes, as described by our server), carne asada quesadillas, and the birria ramen.

The three of us also decided to drink horchatas given that the majority of customers in front of us had walked away with a horchata in hand. 

Bright and Bustling

As mentioned before, the interior of Rollies is absolutely bright and cheerful, and the same could be said for the liveliness of the customers who were crowded around the tables and booths as well. From what we had seen, it was bustling to the brim with people who had come with their family, friends, or significant others. There wasn’t one person we saw who’s come alone because when you’re eating Mexican cuisine that’s this exquisite, it always tastes better with those you love. Emma proudly mentioned that a lot of the customers come back very often. Along with that, a lot of employees are family friends of the owner, Emma was the child of one of those friends! Rollies felt like a very family-orientated restaurant, with all the loyal customers and friendly staff members. 

It was late in the afternoon so we decided to sit outside on the patio, which was quite a cute area. Nearby were a couple of tables on the exterior of Rollie’s patio, adorable fairy lights and plants hung above us, and on a wall, was a beautiful painting of a classic pinata (a mascot for the restaurant, explained by Emma). We chose to sit close to the wall with the painted pinata as we waited for the number of our orders to be called. The Pinata is the mascot of Rollies Mexican Patio, matched with the bright pink floors and blue walls the pinata blended in easily.


The interior of Rollies Mexican Patio

After only just a few minutes of waiting, each of our orders was called. The street tacos, made on corn tortillas, had a mild level of spice with a brilliant savory flavor. The quesadillas (on flour tortillas) just melted in your mouth, the cheese mixed perfectly with the pieces of carne asada inside as well.

Being filled to the brim with different spices, the birria ramen absolutely exploded with flavor. The meat and ramen noodles blended perfectly together. Those horchatas were so sweet and savory, the cinnamon flavor not too strong or weak. To be perfectly honest, we had essentially chugged them down within minutes before even getting our food.  All in all, the food we ordered was incredibly appetizing and left us wanting more.

The Inside Scoop

Throughout the article, we have made many references to Emma an employee that we interviewed. To that, we wanted to discuss some more information that we learned from Emma, she was very kind. When we asked about how long Rollies had been around, they mentioned that Rollies has only been open for 4 years thus far. This was really surprising to learn given that upon our arrival at the place, it felt like it had a really strong sense of community that’s existed for many years now. They happened to have mentioned as well that a lot of the regulars at Rollie’s always love to come on Saturdays, which happens to be their busiest day of the week.

We also discussed the future of Rollies with the owner, named Mateo, and Emma if they had any upcoming plans or new ideas. This is when we discovered that they were thinking about opening up a Rollie’s food truck! Despite this being announced on their Facebook page, this idea is still a work in progress and hopefully soon to be released in June-July 2022. It’s a very cool and exciting idea that we can’t wait to see in the upcoming future.

Reflecting on Rollies and that Brilliant Pink Floor

Rollies was such a vibrant experience. From a welcoming set of employees to the delectable food’s spices that linger in your mouth, this local restaurant deserves so much more recognition for the lovely atmosphere that it creates for the Tucson community. Whether you’re looking for savory, cheesy, or even sweet food or drink, Rollies Mexican Patio is the place for you. Go on and take a walk on that brilliantly pink floor up to the smiling faces of the staff who are waiting to take your order!


Megan McGrath is a freshman at the University of Arizona majoring in Biology. She is not a Tucson local and hasn’t explored much, which made her experience at Rollie’s all the more fun!

Joe Chamberlain is a freshman at the University of Arizona majoring in Game Design & Development. Despite being raised in Arizona practically his whole life, he only now has recently gotten to experience Tucson and what the city has to offer compared to his hometown in Gilbert, Phoenix.

Alicia Bejarano is a freshman at the University of Arizona majoring in Elementary education. She is a Tucson local born and raised. Rollies was a great experience with Joe and Megan. Rollies makes Tucson fun!