Sanborns de los Azulejos – Centro Historico – Mexico City

Centro Department Store and Bar and Dining Room, Mexico City, January 2017

Sanborns de los Azulejos in Centro Historico area of Mexico City was a suggested destination by fabulous friend and resident of Mexico cartoonist Victoria Roberts. Vic was taken here by her grandmother for a soda, I can only imagine what the place looked like through the eyes of a small child because it blew the eyes of this older traveller.

I could have spent our entire stay in Mexico here....the details, the murals my god the uniforms. Sanborns is the equivalent of Woolworths, Sanborns De Los Azulejos is the downtown branch. It is housed in what was La Casa De Los Azulejos ( The House of Tiles)

A little about the history of the house and the Sanborn chain....... The Casa de los Azulejos or "House of Tiles" is an 18th-century palace in Mexico City, built by the Count del Valle de Orizaba family. The building is distinguished by its facade, which is covered on three sides by blue and white tile of Puebla state. The palace remained in private hands until near the end of the 19th century. It changed hands several times before being bought by the Sanborns brothers who expanded their soda fountain/drugstore business into one of the best-recognized restaurant chains in Mexico.

The house today serves as their flagship restaurant. Early in the 20th century, Frank Sanborn and his brother Walter opened a small soda fountain/drugstore on Filomeno Mata Street in the historic center of Mexico City, calling it Sanborns American Pharmacy In 1917, the two brothers saw the old mansion as a place to expand their business. They took two years to remodel it, putting a stained-glass roof over the main courtyard, putting in new floors and adding a peacock mural by Romanian painter Pacologue. A less important mural was painted by José Clemente Orozco in 1925 called Omnisciencia, solicited by his friend Francisco-Sergio (Paco) de Yturbe with the approval of the Sanborns brothers. A restaurant covered the inner courtyard and now dominates the establishment, which now is the flagship site for a chain of restaurants called Sunburns.

The building was declared a national monument in 1931. Since the early 20th century, this Sanborns has been a popular place to have a meal in luxurious surroundings. The business has hosted painters, writers, actors, poets and revolutionaries. It was a symbol of a cosmopolitan atmosphere in the first half of the 20th century.The building was restored again between 1993 and 1995 after suffering a minor fire on the second floor. This project was aimed at preserving the elements of the building dating from the Baroque period, the French and Art Nouveau elements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as the two murals, which had deteriorated considerably. Sanborns currently belongs to billionaire Carlos Slim.


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Comments 2

  1. I loved this building, the restaurant, and the upstairs dining room and bar. It was very very old world and amazing architecture, murals, and detail.

    A must visit if in Mexico City

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