Riding your bike on the sidewalk isn’t cool. I definitely ascribe to the “cyclists are traffic, so they should act like it” philosophy. But you know what’s even less cool than biking on the sidewalk? Restaurant owners kicking cyclists’ back wheels while the person is still on the bike. This is something I saw Martin Fuentes, the owner of Martins Comida Casera on 557 N 4th Ave. in Tucson, do to a cyclist some time ago. I didn’t say anything about it at the time, but always wished I had, so when I was walking on 4th Avenue past his restaurant the other day and he started chatting me up, I brought it up to him.
Typically when people are called out for harassing cyclists, they respond with an apology, or at least an outright denial. Martin, on the other hand, launched back with these witty epithets:
“You should bring your dad in and I’ll kick his ass, too.” (Um, what am I, 12? Also, my dad carries around a tire iron on his peaceful days, so good luck with that.)
“You need to lose ten pounds.” (Actually, I only need to lose 2.5, but it’s always amusing to be fat shamed by someone who’s obese… though I suppose it’s a good thing that someone’s eating the food there!)
“You should Facebook me.” (Yeah, not likely, but at least this non-sequitur kept me on my toes!)
In any case, I was wondering whether other people had had similar experiences with this restaurant owner, whose business strategy appears to be harassing customers and cyclists alike. I didn’t have to go far.
Martin needs to takes bipolar test, cause he’s a fool….. My family went in on a street fair day 2015,and from the start he acted like a jerk, not only the horchata tasted horrible, but the fact when we told him, he went off on us, we were a bunch of kids, were grown adults, I don’t know how he stays in business, but this place needs to shut down, the pictures and style is tacky, and if everyone thinks his food is good, they haven’t had real Mexican food, cause his is a freaking joke.
RUDE, INAPPROPRIATE OWNER : do not go here”
I had the misfortune of going to this place with my 83 year old mother, as she had read a recent review in the local paper. We arrived to find a dark, hole festooned with Luchador paintings on the walls. Aside from 2 women in the side room, we were the only clients. I ordered a beer. Oh Sorry – no beer/wine license? We ordered tacos. Some gray sauce was served with chips.
When my mother turned to the owner and asked (in fluent Spanish) for some ‘red salsa”, the owner replied very loudly & angrily that everyone has their version of red salsa – that this gray slop in a pancake jar was his…and that if we wanted, he had green salsa, which he then violently slammed down on the table and walked away.
My mother and I were both shocked and dismayed at his arrogant, rude behavior, such that we both wanted to leave immediately…we stayed, gulped down our mediocre food and left.
Do not frequent this establishment.
This owner does not deserve to be in business and gives Tucson dining a bad name.
From Yelp (leaving out people complaining about bad food and a lack of running water in the bathroom)
I will never support this business again. Sat on the patio with a friend for lunch. Martin himself brought us some delicious chips and salsa, and then proceeded to berate his employee loudly, publicly, and profanely for not getting our chips to us in time. We had only been there a minute. We got up and left. This man is abusive to his staff – my friend and I were totally shocked. This is not a kind place. I do not care how good the food is.
The food is crazy good, but the owner is mad! I can’t support a place that verbally abuses his employees. The fact that he does it in front of his customers is insanity. As a business owner why would you do that? Be nice man!
Owner /server is rude , inappropriate racial jokes. Food is mediocre at best and expensive. There are many other places in Tucson with higher quality food and service, I recommend you try out any of the taquerias in Southside Tucson and you will experience much better food and service . Will never set foot in this establishment again!
HOWEVER! Martin is at one time a super nice guy and at others, an incredible jerk. I’ve heard him viciously upbraiding his staff on multiple occasions and screaming at customers when they do things he doesn’t agree with. Then other times he might welcome you in with a big smile and give you free tacos. The unpredictability of his mood keeps me from going back as often as I would like. Dude needs to balance his medication, like yesterday.
One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing someone in charge berate another person in public, there’s no need for it.
The owners PERSONALITY keeps me from his business altogether.
The owner of this place is a complete jerk. I arrived Thursday night and was greeted by him cursing out one of his employees, berating him for making lemonade incorrectly. The next day he spent catcalling the pretty girls who walked by, and on Sunday he went over to the booth of a visiting artist and literally SCREAMED at this poor little artist for placing her small cart of items on the sidewalk next to his store. It wasn’t even blocking any part of the crappy little storefront, but he decided that attempting to humiliate this woman in front of a large group of clients would make his place more popular. I cheered out loud when the group of clients yelled right back at him for being such an ass. Great job being a total jerk and losing a large group of prospective diners.
I went into this place, one day while I was with my family wasting time in 4th ave. We walked in a fat guy with a cigarette in his mouth (inside the freakin’ restaurant) looked at me like he was pissed that I int erupted his siesta. The place smelled like burnt grease so we left. What a dive.
From Google Reviews:
Martin actually, the owner tried to start a fist fight with me. Martin is a dirt bag, his food is probably dirty too.
Over priced, not clean (no gloves and flies inside), terrible service (what waiter? no receipt?), there where 3 tables with customers and it took us 40 minutes to get our lunch/food… Martin (cigaret smoking inside his restaurant) should decrease the attitude/ foul language (English and Spanish) and increase the quality /service if he wants to have a successful business. What a disappointment and disgrace for Mexican food and entrepreneurs worldwide.
and for a long review, just go to Restaurantica. Here’s how it starts:
Let me tell you my dear lector that I’m Mexican and that is why I feel this restaurant should not represent our cuisine.
So SEE it’s not just me and the cyclist he kicked, but a legion of customers and would-be customers.
Now you might say I’m cherrypicking reviews and only posting the bad ones, and you would be correct. I don’t have to give a platform for people who have bad taste in Mexican food, or who think that making watery salsa absolves someone of their need to, you know, not harass cyclists, pedestrians, and customers. But since I want to do more than just whine, I wanted to tell you about some amazing places to eat that are walking distance from Martins Comida Casera, so you don’t have to subject yourself to his food or his attitude problem.
My two favorites:
La Indita serves delicious, authentic food made by Maria Garcia, who is a Tarascas Indian from the Mexican State of Michoacan. When I first lived in Tucson, I’d eat here after every paycheck.
Maya Quetzal serves amazing Guatemalan food. It is cozy and comfortable, and serves some of the best mole I’ve ever had. Plenty of vegetarian options on the menu if you’re not a meat-eater.
There’s also Pancho Villa if you’re dead set on Mexican, and might I recommend B-Line or the Coronet if you’re not? Heck, you can even print out a restaurant guide with 20 food options. Just make sure to cross Martins’ off the list.
And while we’re at it, there are many organizations in Tucson that support local cyclists, if you want to build your own bike, or even take a safety class in exchange for a free helmet, bike light set, U-lock or multi tool. Just stay off the sidewalk, and away from Martins Comida Casera!