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Shop OV Spotlight: Goyita's Mexican Restaurant

Photo of Goyita's owner Jose Luis Meza and mom Goya in kitchen with big pot of beans on the stove

When Jose Luis Meza was a boy in Silver City, N.M., he fetched avocadoes and peppers for his mom Goya at her restaurant job. “He would say ‘mom, when I grow up, I want to have a restaurant,’” Goya said. “Ok, mijo.”

Years later, Goya and her husband Raymundo have moved from Silver City to Sahuarita, “to help my son” open the Southern New Mexico-style restaurant in Oro Valley that bears her nickname.

“This is his dream.”

January 25, 2017

Jose Luis left copper mining to open and manage Goyita’s in October on La Canada, at the east end of the strip of shops south of Fry’s along Lambert and across the street from Noble Hops. Half of his 14 workers are family, driving up for long days of work. Goya is the self-described “chief cook and bottle washer,” though Ray is the actual “pearl diver,” washing dishes.

When Goya and Ray married, she didn’t know how to cook. “She couldn’t boil water,” Ray says.

“I was so embarrassed not to know anything,” Goya said. “I didn’t know how to open a can.”

So his family taught Goya how to cook, sharing Ray’s grandmother’s recipes. “I learned everything from them,” a grateful Goya said. She took right to it, and still works to perfect her art. Goya has “the green thumb for cooking,” Ray said. “She makes it with love.” 

“My friends and family always loved the way my mom cooked,” Jose Luis said.

Her Southern New Mexico fare stars the red and green Hatch chile pepper, marked on the menu by the distinctive New Mexico Zia sun symbol. It’s “spicy.” “When we say it’s hot, it’s hot,” Jose Luis says, though Goya quickly adds, “we can make it whatever heat they want.”

Silver City loves her red chile with pork chops. “We don’t overload it with spices,” Goya said. “We want the natural flavor of the food.”

Everything is fresh and prepared daily. “This is not a fast food place,” Ray said. “Sit down and enjoy it.”

Goyita’s has a bar with big TVs, happy hour, 14 bottled beers and “big, humongous margaritas,” Goya said. On Tuesdays, tacos and Tecates are $2 each.

Jose Luis knows this first year is the toughest, compounded by the higher minimum wage. He’d like to serve breakfast, and wants to expand the eatery’s outdoor seating. To build the business, Goyita’s offers take-out, party fare and catering. Business is picking up.

“We have a lot of people who enjoy the food, a lot of local people, repeats,” Ray said.

“That, and many people from New Mexico,” his son adds.

10420 N. La Canada, #170, Oro Valley
11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday
11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday
Closed for family time Sunday

By: Dave Perry, President/CEO Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce