The History of El Encanto

The original El Encanto Restaurant and Cantina is located in the center of Cave Creek. In 1989, Bill Nelson purchased a vacant building, and with a love of Mexico and Mexican food, opened the first El Encanto. He brought a chef he’d known for twenty years from Mexico. Using the finest, freshest ingredients, they put together a menu that people quickly called “the best Mexican food in the Valley.”

Also having a love of old Mexican architecture, Bill made many trips across the border, bringing back ideas and materials to incorporate into El Encanto. The patio and restaurant’s colors and style aim to bring the look and feel of Mexico to your dining experience.

El Encanto became a favorite for its enchanting setting and great food. The business grew rapidly and
eventually needed a more developed and improved infrastructure. In 2003, Bill implored his eldest
daughter Christine, a lawyer living in Washington, to come back to run the business. Christine developed
new operating systems to manage the increased volume and built a management team to implement
them. They focus on improving consistency and enhancing the level of service. Christine and Chef Hernandez also developed a new menu maintaining many of the old favorites, while adding more fresh seafood and several of Chef Hernandez’s specialties from his hometown, Mazatlan.

In 2005, the restaurant had grown to such a success that Bill and Christine decided it was time to expand. The second location, El Encanto Dos, opened in January of 2006. Dos sits on a large piece of property where there is room for an organic garden. It serves the same great food, in a similarly authentic atmosphere. And, now, in 2009, we have opened our third location, El Encanto de la Fuente, in Fountain Hills, Arizona.

Thank you for joining us at El Encanto today. We hope everything was perfect for you and that you'll come to share our love of Mexican food and culture.


  • 2001 "#1 Choice for Mexican Food" by Phoenix Magazine readers
  • The New Times voted El Encanto's Margaritas "The Best in the Valley"
  • 2000 El Encanto was voted "Most Romantic" by Channel 3's Good Morning Arizona
  • 2002 El Encanto was selected as the "Best Place to Pop the Question" by New Times

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