Casa Rivera: Food, Family, History

Casa Rivera.jpg

Rodolfo ‘Rudi’ Rivera with son Chris (Skylar Khan photo)


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Baby Rodolfo Rivera on lap of his aunt Helena, Rodolfo Fierro (rt.) and soldier, anno 1915

By Skylar Khan

Special to the Crier

Rodolfo Rivera, Jr., better known as ‘Rudi’ to Oracle residents, can usually be found in the kitchen preparing healthy Mexican meals with the same love and care he has done all his life.

The food served at the charming Casa Rivera Restaurant is consistently of high quality and freshness. Rudi emphasizes that only pure olive oil is being used for cooking.

Rivera buys ingredients locally whenever possible. He uses organic eggs, obtained from local farmers.

In order to stay competitive in the current economic climate, Rivera has introduced a value meal in the early morning hours where patrons can order breakfast for $3.95 between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m.

Casa Rivera’s menu includes a variety of foods designed to please just about every palate. There are tacos and tamales, steak and shrimp, burritos and specials like menudo, and American fare such as sandwiches and cream pies.

In addition to enjoying a healthy meal, patrons are invited to view the historic photographs on the walls. These pictures were taken at historic events in Mexican/American history.

On the North wall, you can see ‘Pancho’ Villa, General Pershing and then Col. George Patton at the end of the war in 1914.

On the South wall is another picture taken at the Palacio Nacional that includes General Francisco Villa, Emiliano Zapata, Rodolfo Fierro and Tomas Urbina.

Rudi points out the latest addition to this special collection, a picture of his own father on the day of baptism in Juarez around 1915. On the right of the baby stands the aforementioned Rodolfo Fierro who had taken time off from the war to perform the baptism. Thus the name Rodolfo has continued prominently in the family tree of the Rivera clan.

Rudi Rivera is proud of his heritage. He was born in Juarez, Mexico and raised in Los Angeles, California. As father, grandfather and great-grandfather, he continues to be the respected patriarch of the family. He explains that his grandfather’s origin is from France and Spain, and that his grandmother is Mexican Indian.

Casa Rivera Restaurant continues to be a family affair: Rodolfo and son Isaak work in the kitchen, son Chris and daughter Crystal manage the restaurant together with Rudi’s wife Gloria and other close family members.

Rivera has been in the food business his whole life. He opened his first restaurant in California in 1969 and soon thereafter changed over to industrial catering for the next fifteen years, followed by a move to Arizona in 1988.

Things were not always easy, he explains, referring to a former restaurant he owned in Hayden. Asarco’s move to the Tucson office resulted in the loss of many employees who were part of his lunch crowd. During that time however, Rivera had also opened a second restaurant in Oracle and was overseeing both stores when he lost the Hayden enterprise to a fire in the year 2000, shortly after the Magma shutdown. Unfortunately, the fire occurred after the insurance coverage had lapsed and, although arson was suspected, it was never proven. Needless to say, Rivera lost everything in that fire.

On the upside, the Casa Rivera Restaurant in Oracle has been flourishing ever since. Customers are welcomed by name, and both Chris and Crystal seem to know their patrons’ preferred menu choices by heart.

Rudi Rivera states that he loves this community for its obvious beauty and climate. “Our clientele from Oracle and surrounding areas is especially nice” he adds “they are great patrons!”

Casa Rivera Restaurant is located at 1975 E. American Avenue in Oracle, Arizona and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

For take-out or special catering orders, please call 520 896-3744.

For additional information about Rodolfo Rivera and his handwriting, please go to www.HandwritingAuthority.com

During that time however, Rivera had also opened a second restaurant in Oracle and was overseeing both stores when he lost the Hayden enterprise to a fire in the year 2000, shortly after the Magma shutdown. Unfortunately, the fire occurred after the insurance coverage had lapsed and, although arson was suspected, it was never proven. Needless to say, Rivera lost everything in that fire.

On the upside, the Casa Rivera Restaurant in Oracle has been flourishing ever since. Customers are welcomed by name, and both Chris and Crystal seem to know their patrons’ preferred menu choices by heart.

Rudi Rivera states that he loves this community for its obvious beauty and climate. “Our clientele from Oracle and surrounding areas is especially nice” he adds “they are great patrons!”

Casa Rivera Restaurant is located at 1975 E. American Avenue in Oracle, Arizona and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

For take-out or special catering orders, please call 520 896-3744.

For additional information about Rodolfo Rivera and his handwriting, please go to www.HandwritingAuthority.com

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