The dust had barely settled from another Revolution in the late 1800’s when Maria Jesus Calles-Moreno found herself whisked away from her home in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, and bundled onto a mule to make the long journey to the mountains of Cananea. Mexico was in upheaval and her uncle, Plutarco Elias Calles, who would eventually become President of Mexico, sent the family into seclusion.

The struggle for survival began. Her mother, Aquiles, provided for the family by preparing meals for travellers and workers who had no time to cook for themselves.

It was in this setting that a young soldier from the United States Cavalry, Charles Edward Kuehme, met Maria Jesus, who was to become his life-long love. It was the turn of the century, and Arizona was in its Territorial phase.

They married in 1906 and began a new life in the Bisbee-Douglas area. In 1912 she returned to Cananea to give birth to a daughter, Rosa, who was to follow in her mother’s and grandmother’s footsteps.

Rosa moved to Tempe and spent several years working for other restaurants. With five children to provide for, days off were spent with her children picking cotton in the fields in Mesa, Tempe and Chandler. Her oldest son, Narcizo (Chicho), working by her side would often hold out his arm and say, “Some day, Mama, there will be a restaurant with Rosita’s name on it.” At Rosita’s, she could proudly use her old family recipes, lovingly created and made with the finest ingredients.

That day finally came. In 1963, Rosa Keeme opened the doors to Rosita’s on 5th & Beck in Tempe. The family pooled their resources to help out, and on opening night, her first customers dined at a total of four tables, one of which was her own dinette set. Although lacking in glamour, it still had the most important ingredient – love.

After three generations of Keeme’s, and many second and third generation members of employees’ families, the tables may have changed, but Rosita’s still serves the best authentic Mexican food in the Valley!