Carlos, Mickey and Pancho - sounds like a Willie Nelson song but it's actually a true story about 2 El Paso restaurants, one local and one that went national.

There used to be a Mexican restaurant here in El Paso known as Pancho's Mexican Food Buffet.

It was pretty popular, the food was ok and people seemed to get a kick out of raising the little Mexican flags to get the servers attention.

What I never knew, until now, was that the founder of Panchos had some "finer" dining game. He also founded an iconic El Paso restaurant that is still in business to this day.

Mexican-Style Food Items
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You're probably putting the names together now, huh?

Yep, Jesse Arrambide, jr, also started Los Bandidos de Carlos And Mickey. A "must visit" restarant near Bassett Place on Magruder still operated by members of the Arrambide family..

Carlos and Mickey's is a bit more upscale while Panchos was designed for families on a budget. According to, Mr Arrambide's goal was to provide:

... a welcoming and indulgent place that families could go out to eat while staying within their budget. As Pancho's Mexican Buffet tells it, "for the first time, families could eat to their heart's content from a lavish spread of delicious Mexican food.

Traditional Salon Tenampa Adapts to New Normal
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Sadly, Pancho's faded away but Carlos and Mickey's is still serving up some of the best Mexican food in town and the way the restaurant is decorated makes it an awesome place to take out of town guests you want to show "something different.".

It's definitely an El Paso original.

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