Julio’s Taqueria: The Taste of Sonora

Last week the Roundup staff was in the mood for an adventure in Mexican food and headed to Julio’s Taqueria at Willow and Shaw in Clovis.

Softly playing guitar music from the sound system greeted us. The menu board listed the dishes and their ingredients in both Spanish and English, while a flat-screen TV monitor displayed many of the menu items.

Owned by Julio Lopez, the casual restaurant offers a change from the usual taco offering found locally. Julio’s Taqueria specializes in the exquisite flavor found in the authentic cuisine of the state of Sonora, Mexico, with its own style of preparation.  Distinctive of the region’s cuisine are homemade flour tortillas, fresh ingredients, and a variety of meats, most notably the tasty grilled or barbequed beef, along with pork, chicken, and fish.

The menu is based on the preparation of savory northern Mexican dishes from homemade recipes. You have your choice of appetizers, a wide variety of tacos,  burritos, tortas, quesadillas, and mulas y vampiros. The latter includes the popular barbacoa with shredded beef that has been marinated for eight hours.

You can customize your order and watch your selection prepared. Visit the salsa bar and add freshly made salsas, fresh and locally sourced jalapenos, onions, cilantro, radishes, and carrots to your entree.

Beverages include soft drinks, bottled water, micheladas, and a variety of beer choices.      

“Our flour tortillas are homemade,” said Lopez. “We need to cater to the customer and will be making changes to the menu and adding fish tacos, shrimp tacos, and smoked salmon tacos in the future.”

Donna enjoyed the Chili Verde burrito and rice, which she accented with pickled carrots from the salsa bar.

Caitie had the Carne Asada tacos, and Billy had the El Chingon, which was served with a variety of meats and melted cheese on an Anaheim chile. “Very tasty and filling,” was the verdict on both dishes.

I had the El Jr., a grilled Anaheim green chile smothered with bacon and cheese. Delicious! I added fresh cilantro, simply because I like cilantro and couldn’t resist. Next time, I want to try the nopal (grilled cactus) taco.

We agreed the unique flavors of our selections worked very well together.

Influenced by Julia Child and Emeril Lagasse, Julio Lopez worked for a time at the Pizza Factory before opening the Taqueria in 2018.

A menu is online, and the restaurant offers take-out, eat-in, and catering services.

For the holidays, traditional beef and pork tamales will be for sale starting in December with pick-up by December 22. The cost for a dozen is $15.

“My mom will be making tamales again this year,” said Lopez. “She made them last year, and we sold 115 dozen.”

Julio’s Taqueria is located at 635 W. Shaw Ave Ste. 103, Clovis, CA 93612. Phone: (559) 207-3408

Hours are 11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. Mon.- Sat., 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Sun.