Walt Cook, The Union Democrat

Two new Mexican restaurants are set to open in Tuolumne County and a third is finding success in East Sonora after four months of operation.

In addition, a new Italian restaurant has also entered the mix,

opening in downtown Sonora Monday after months of preparation and


Artisan Pizza & Espresso Bar, at Stewart and Linoberg streets,

is located at the site formerly occupied by Banny's Cafe and Wine Bar.

A complete menu is available on the Internet at www.oldtownsonora.com.

Among the Mexican eateries, two are set to open in area shopping

centers: La Hacienda Restaurant in The Junction shopping center, and

Camacho's in the Sonora Crossroads shopping center. Camacho's is a new

restaurant owned by the Camacho family, which previously operated

Camacho's Taqueria in downtown Sonora.

Look for the new Camacho's to open near the Staples office supply

store and La Hacienda to open across from Starbucks. La Hacienda will

hold a grand opening on Sept. 22, while an opening date for Camacho's

has not been announced publicly.

Rapido Burritos Taqueria, meanwhile, has been open since May at

14301 Mono Way in East Sonora, across from the Sonora Aladdin Motor

Inn. Rapido focuses on takeout, with several tables also available


The business was recently awarded the Tuolumne County Chamber of Commerce's remodeling award.

Rapido Burritos' manager Daniel Sanchez described the restaurant as

a place for people on the go to get some fresh Mexican food quickly.

"I came up with the idea when I was working construction," said

Sanchez. "You're always on the go and you don't have time to be

waiting, you just want to grab something and get back."

"We're trying to stay on the healthy side," Sanchez said. "We don't use lard, we use soybean oil and everything is fresh."

The restaurant even has a salsa bar for those with discriminating spicy tastes.

Rapido Burritos Taqueria, owned by Sanchez's aunt, Maria Lucas, is open from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

George Segarini, the chamber's president and chief executive

officer, said the influx of new restaurants in the county is good news,

though he can't pinpoint why they're coming.

"Has there been a change regarding economic conditions? I'd have to

say 'no' at the moment," he said. "The only thing that has really

changed is the attitude."