The Sonoran hot dog

Ron and Vicki Sullivan

Tito Carrillo is no stranger to Quail Creek. As trader and importer of Mata Ortiz Mexican pottery, many Quail Creek homes are decorated with the miracles of Mata Ortiz. Pottery is not his only passion.

Born at the historic Stork’s Nest in Tucson, an eighteen bed maternity home, Tito has been traveling the streets of Tucson for as long as he can remember. As a teenager he worked for his father’s dry cleaning business driving throughout the barrios of Tucson picking up and delivering clothes. Tito’s family also owns the Casa Molina Restaurants located throughout the city of Tucson.

This also makes him somewhat of an authority when it comes to Mexican foods and especially the Sonoran hot dog. Although originated in Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora, Mexico, it has been a food vendor staple in Tucson since the early 1940s.

There is no better place to find a Sonoran-style hot dog than along Tucson’s 12th Street. Tito explains, “At one time both sides of the street were lined with vendors selling the Hermosillo delight.” One writer wrote, “Business was so competitive that you know you’ve attained a certain level of success when some bozo tries to threaten you when he thinks you’ve invaded his territory. When one vendor on 22nd Street announced he was opening a new hot dog stand, an alleged extortionist ordered the newbie to cough up $600,000.”

You know times and styles of Sonoran hot dogs have changed when a Quail Creek resident can drive six miles north to the Pecan Gift Shop parking lot area and find a Sonoran hot dog vendor parked alongside Sahuarita Road.

Originally wrapped in mesquite smoked bacon, then cooked on an open fire griddle, propane is now the fuel of choice. Toppings can include beans, grilled onions, tomatoes and jalapeno salsa served on bread and often with a side of fresh roasted chile. As the saying goes, “You can have it your way.”

For more information about local foods and Mata Ortiz pottery, visit and