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The Valencia family — Maria, Nicole and Onorio — are bringing the foods that adorned their family dinner table to hungry diners at Taqueria el Naranjo

The Valencia family grew up in Philo, Calif. not eating out very much; most meals were homemade. Owner of the taqueria, Onorio spent many years managing crew members of a vineyard and when his family moved to Newman, his family wanted to share the meals they had on their family table with the community.

“When we were growing up we didn’t eat out too much,” said his daughter Nicole Valencia. “We would always eat homemade stuff that my mom made. Our favorite thing was homemade tortillas. We knew when we got home from school we had lunch and dinner ready.”

The restaurant is family owned with Nicole and Onorio handling the front end operations, and the matriarch of the family, Maria Manzo, running the back end as the head chef. The most popular item on the menu seems to be the quesadillas. It comes with a soft and hard shell tortilla that the customers seem to enjoy, according to Nicole.

The recipe for all the dishes come from Michoaca,n which is a state in Mexico. The family has roots there and Maria learned a lot of her cooking from that place. All of the ingredients are sourced locally.

“We try to keep all our distributors local,” said Nicole. “We want to try to keep it to cities like Newman, Modesto and Turlock. We would like people to support our local business and we want to support locally as well.”

The taqueria believes their personal touch in their dishes is going to set them apart from other Hispanic restaurants.

“What makes us different is that everything we do is homemade,” said Nicole. “Everything is just like the food we had growing up, so there’s a real feeling of home with the food.”

The Valencia family knew they eventually wanted to make Newman home and were excited to join the community.

“We have family and friends here and we always loved coming down here,” said Nicole. “We’re excited to have finally moved down here and we have a lot of great memories here. And, we’re looking forward to making a lot more.” 

Taqueria el Naranjo

Location: 914 Fresno Street, Newman

Hours: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Contact information: 209-312-9621

Specialty:  Quesadillas