Behind every restaurant is a story. For Valle Luna, an authentic Mexican food restaurant, that story began in 1983.
“It was my mother in law who started the restaurant. We call her Tia Rita. She’s on all of our menus and everything,” Janie Riddle, one of Valle Luna’s current owners, said.
Since Tia Rita opened the first Valle Luna restaurant in the Northwest Valley, the restaurant’s popularity allowed two new locations to open in the Southeast Valley and Paradise Valley. Tia Rita passed away in 2008, but her legacy has lived on through the food.
“Many of her [Tia Rita’s] original recipes are still what we use and of course we’ve added to the menu because of everyone’s wishes. Everything is made fresh daily with quality ingredients,” Riddle said.
Riddle and her husband have another love besides Mexican food – high school football. The couple has always enjoyed sports, but their dedication to high school football began when they joined the National Football Foundation’s Valley of the Sun Chapter. Both Janie and her husband have served as president of the organization and participated in various fundraisers.
“We raise money for scholarships for high school and college scholar athletes. Young people that not only excel on the gridiron, but also academically and in giving back to their community,” Riddle said.
This year, Valle Luna is a proud sponsor of YurView’s GameTime program. Since Riddle and her husband already had a background in football, it was a natural fit.
“We love sports,” Riddle said. “We have a passion for high school football and athletics. We love GameTime and all the media that carries it. We watch it on a regular basis.”
With many exciting match-ups coming up during the GameTime Season, Valle Luna is looking forward to following the successes of high school football teams throughout Arizona.
“We’re hoping that everyone has a great season,” Riddle said. “What’s interesting about when you start following these young athletes is that you watch them in high school, you watch them as freshman starting on a team in college, and some of them actually go on to the NFL. That’s really a great feeling.”
Being a high school athlete isn’t easy. It requires the balance between playing the sport and keeping up with schoolwork. Riddle appreciates how high school athletes show dedication in the classroom and on the field.
“It’s a lot of action,” Riddle said. “These young high school kids have the desire to do so well out there and persevere. It’s amazing when you watch these young people. They work hard, they train hard, and then you watch them on the field during a game and oh my goodness, it’s awesome.”