One part love
One part science
And the rest is magic…
The Velvet Elvis opened its doors on December 12, 1998, with a procession honoring our Lady of Guadalupe. The restaurant is not named after the “King”. It is simply a playful reference to the “Velvet Paintings”, a multimillion-dollar business which took place across the Mexican border towns in the 70’s.
It is our desire to respectfully introduce our customers to delicious and healthy dining alternatives particularly with our home-made vegetarian soups, organic salads and juice bar choices. We do not compromise our creativity and quality for the sake of profits because we love what we do, and our commitment is to excellence.
Our kitchen is a sophisticated and labor-intensive operation, for example each slice, pizza and calzone is handmade and prepared to order. We make our own whole wheat pizza dough, roast our own bell peppers and prepare authentic chorizo using the leanest ground beef. Our specialty entrees, dressings, sauces, desserts and juices are all original recipes.
We welcome young and old, rich or not as they gather at the Velvet Elvis to share a meal under the irresistible invitation of a great pizza. We are sincerely grateful for your appreciation of our efforts and strive to bring you the best of who we are.
The Velvet Elvis has been mentioned in national and international travel publications. We have been featured on TV, in newspapers from New York to San Francisco, and magazines including Arizona Highways, Tucson Lifestyles, and Tucson Guide Quarterly. In 2005, Arizona Governor, Janet Napolitano, designated the Velvet Elvis an “Arizona Treasure”.
We remain humbly amazed at this level of recognition; and for that, we remain blissfully grateful.
It starts with the painting of Elvis Presley on a velvet background finding it’s way from Xenia, Ohio to Patagonia, Arizona, at an old gutted out bakery, where Cecilia San Miguel is struggling to open a restaurant with no previous experience but impressive natural culinary skills.
Looking at this painting of the King, Cecilia San Miguel has an “aha” moment and she decides “Velvet Elvis” is the name for her upcoming restaurant.
In a twist and turn of events reminiscent of Like Water for Chocolate, Forest, the grandson of a restauranteur wanna-be, arrived at Cecilia’s door in Patagonia with a beat-up suitcase full of recipes looking for a job.
It turns out that Forest’s grandfather owned a bagel shop next door to a pizzeria in Brooklyn, New York called Eli’s where they made the authentic old world pizza dough and sauce.
Forest who had experience opening restaurants got the job at the Velvet Elvis and together with Cecilia’s son JP, adjusted the recipes to balance water, humidity, altitude, environment and oven temperature to make the dough for what would become the most incredible pizza, calzone and bread on this side of the San Pedro River.
Cecilia’s culinary gifts shined in the choices of toppings for the designer pizzas and calzones and the fresh ingredients of salads and soups; a very talented chef whose very light touch had gone a long way in order to make her dream a reality.
On December 12, 1998 with a procession honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Velvet Elvis opened it’s doors in the town of Patagonia, Arizona, whose lucky residents and visitors have been eating delicious pizzas, calzones, breads, salads, soups and entrees ever since!