(This article was written by Lisa Campos and appeared in the December issue of the Explore Harlingen Magazine.)
Panchito’s, owned by Jeanie Deleon Diaz, has been serving the Rio Grande Valley since 2001. They are a single location, family-owned, curbside-only restaurant serving breakfast and lunch. Their food is made with the finest, locally sourced ingredients, keeping their money in our community. Customer favorites include: fideo loco and the botana for two (2) featuring nachos, fajitas, smoked sausage, quesadillas, and all the fixings. But they don’t just serve Mexican food. They also feature croissant sandwiches, southwest chicken wraps made with homemade spinach tortillas, chicken and dumplings, broccoli cheese soup, lasagna soup with garlic toast, and more.
When other restaurants shut down during the pandemic, Panchito’s switched to curbside only. They continue to serve customers curbside exclusively, to ensure the health and wellness of their 74-year-old grandmother, who is the cook.
When Ms. Diaz’s grandfather was alive, he would grace Panchito’s with a weekly visit. Although Ms. Diaz would never accept payment for his food, even when he insisted, stammering, “business is business.” Her response would be, “family is everything.”
In his honor, Panchito’s provides and takes care of the older generation in the Harlingen community by offering free delivery. Panchito’s delivered warm, delicious food to my parents when they were older and no longer able to drive, and my family truly appreciated it.
Ms. Diaz is such a wonderful and giving person who constantly lifts others up with her generosity and positive vibes. Even after facing adversity such as frequent vandalizations, reduction in staff, and a stage 4 cancer diagnosis for Ms. Diaz’s sister, the Diaz family continues to give back to the community. With Cam’s Blessing Box, they have helped others in the following ways:
Recycled more than 4,000 pounds of aluminum, paper, and plastics
Raised more than $4,000 and donated it to nonprofits with their annual Made with Love bake sale
Collected and distributed more than 50 coats in 2022
During the pandemic, collected and distributed more than 20 pounds of food
Held a toy drive benefiting their neighbors to the south
Collected and donated more than 300 books, which has grown into a reading buddy program
Additionally, Panchito’s started a community give back program called Share the Love, which provides:
Free drinks for military and law enforcement
Free meals to those in need
Free meals for cancer warriors
Free meals for veterans on Veterans’ Day
Panchito’s, located at 1021 S. Commerce, is open Monday through Friday, from 7 am to 1 pm, and Saturday, from 8 am to 1 pm, for curbside service only. Breakfast is served all day and lunch can be served as early as 9 am. Call them at 956-428-8083 to place your order. When you arrive in the parking lot, you will be greeted outside, and your meal will be brought out to your car.