Milagros Rare Neon Sign Find

Me & Matta’s neon headed for Milagros

I recently had a chance to pick up an iconic Mexican Food neon sign from Mesa Arizona.

I’m always on the lookout for signs from the past.  They tell a story that only 50 years of glow can tell.

Neon signs are hard to find and it’s becoming a lost art.  When a neon sign breaks, it’s not uncommon to just toss it in the landfill and call some schmuck in a shiny red truck to replace your classic sign with a plastic back-lit can sign.  Uggg!

But first… before I tell you about my rare find… let me give you a little history.

I have always been a sucker for vintage neon signs and clocks.  It started back when I was about four years old.

Rambler Motel in the 60s

My grandmother owned a motel called “The Rambler”.  It was located in Provo, Utah and it was due west of the Utah Valley Hospital.  (Big medical offices are there now.)

“The Rambler Motel” greeted guests with the typical 1960s sign.  I remember helping pick out the letters that boasted of a warm swimming pool and really clean rooms.

So… you see, my fondness for signs came at an early age out of that experience.

Back to the Mexican Food neon sign.

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Milagros Mexican Food Restaurant Serve BYU Football Players

BYU Football players and coaches love Mexican Food.  Even though many of them frequent Milagros Mexican food restaurant in Orem, they loved to be served on their own turf.

This fall, during training, Jackson and I catered several meals to the BYU football players and coaches.

I’ve always been a huge fan of BYU, and it’s always a great experience for me to be in the mix on a more personal level than just being in an apron at Milagros or on the BYU “Chain Gang”. 

Boy, those big guys can pack it away.  The first time around, there wasn’t much left for the coaches… who were the last in line.  We learned quickly that it would be double fare for these guys.

At Bronco Mendenhall’s request, every Thursday… we pack it up and head on down to the BYU campus at lunch time… where super hungry football coaches wait to eat the best Mexican Food in Utah.  Their individual requests span a huge variety from our menu.  They order every thing from Burritos (We’ve named a special one for Bronco), to Barry’s Pollo Fundido, Beef and Chicken Chimichangas, Chicken Salad, Seafood Enchiladas… to a half rack of Baby Backs Hermosillo.

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Milagros Mexican Food Restaurant Quesadilla Challenge

Just offer 12 year old young men an opportunity to have a Mexican Food eating contest and immediately all stomachs are on board. “And, you want us to do what?”

A little background information is necessary here.

I have the privilege of teaching the 12 year old young men at my church.  There are 15 of them.  My son Jackson Danger is part of the gang, which make my duties more enjoyable and rewarding.

I persistently challenge them to care and watch out for each other, not only at church, but at school and social events.  I also encourage them to prepare for missions.

LDS young men can go on a mission for the church at the age of 18-19.  For 2 years they teach the gospel worldwide at their own expense.

Part of their preparation is to read their scriptures frequently, preferably on a daily basis.  The group talks big about reading their scriptures every day, but like many goals, they slip by the wayside after a few days or weeks.

I told them if they would take their daily scripture seriously, we would have a “Quesadilla” party every six months.  To make this event a little more exciting, I bet, between them all, they could not eat 50 Quesadillas.

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Milagros Mexican Food Utah and BYU Football Chain Gang

It’s rare not to see me in the kitchen on busy weekends, working among the spicy aromas of a Mexican Food kitchen.  However, there is one event that allows me to take a break… BYU Football.  I don’t attend in the usual manner, as a spectator, but as a member of the “Chain Gang.”

(For those who don’t know what that is… it’s the “Chain crew” who are assistance to the officials. They handle the first down measuring chain.)

Running the BYU Football “Chain Gang”, as I have done for the past 8 years,  is something I always look forward too.

It’s a privilege to know all the coaches, but they usually associate me with their last great Mexican Food feast.  And, since Jackson Danger and I cater lunch for the team during spring ball, most of the players associate me with wearing an apron, not black and white stripes.

I miss much of the game that the spectators in the bleachers see.  However,  I see, hear and sometime feel things, by standing with my shoes on the out-of-bounds grass, that the fans never see or experience.

Sometimes the “Chain Gang” will switch sides of the field at half time.  I find it interesting to be on the opposing team’s side of the field and watch how the other team manages the game…how their coaches react under pressure, how they inspire (or not) their players.  I also get to observe how the team members, and coaches support each other (or not).

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Milagros Adventuresome Spirit

As a youth, I was a pretty adventuresome guy.  For some reason, adventure and a little risk taking still woo me.  I realize, since I have a family… I have to tone it down a bit… in fact a lot!

Butttt… once in a while it just creeps out.

A few days ago, I had to drop of a van in Park City.  I took my super star companion, Lexi with me.  We had no ride home… so I just prepared a little sign and Lexi stood on the curb, in front of the Hotel Park City, and held it out for all drivers to see.

It wasn’t but just a few minutes before a loyal Milagro’s customer saw the word “Milagros” on our sign and Lexi’s hat and gave us a ride back to Lindon.

(Now don’t think for a minute that I’d put my daughter at risk.  If someone we knew had not come along… I was prepared to call for a ride.  We just thought it would be fun to try.)

Next week, I’m headed to Mesa, Arizona to pick up an big old neon sign that says, “MEXICAN FOOD”.  It’s 13 feet long and it will be placed high on the wall in the dining room.

Now…you have to know… Mesa is the “stomping” ground of my youth and it conjures up all the old feelings of excitement and adventure of those days.  That’s where I learned to “hitch.”  (No.. I’m not “hitching” a ride to Mesa… even though it might be fun.)

While there, I’m looking forward to hitting the Mexican Food restaurants of my youth, along with visiting a bit with my dad and my 95 year old grandma.

And…I’m going to have to try doubly hard to keep my adventuresome spirit in restraint and mind my p’s and q’s.

In the meantime… I’m really excited about the sign.  I’m always looking for unique items to add to the atmosphere of Milagros.

Milagros will be in good hands while I’m gone… so drop on in and get a taste of the  “Best Mexican Food” in Utah.

See you when I get back.


P.S.  One of these days… I’ll have to share some adventuresome stories from my youth.  I’ve got a few doozies.

San Juan River Trip | Milagros Takes A Break

It was good to get away from Milagros and the fast pace of a Mexican restaurant and relax with my friends and our kids for a few days.  Sometimes you just need a break so you can come back refreshed… ready to dive in again.

When a river trip was suggested… my mind went back to my childhood.  I have always been drawn to rivers.  However, one of my earliest memories is my mother telling me, “There are alligators in the water, stay away.”  (I think she said that because there was a irrigation canal behind our home.)

I lay in bed at night worrying about alligators leaving the water and crawling to our house.  Also, I have always hated cold water… so the idea of rafting down a river in water that was 45 degrees did not sound fun.

However, I was reassured there would be no alligators and the water temperature would be warm.

We choose to float the San Juan river, which is located about 1 hr. south of Moab, Utah.  The river looks like chocolate milk because it is so full of sediment or sand.  The San Juan flows into Lake Powell.  An estimated 44 million tons of sediment flows into Lake Powell every year… mostly from warm “muddy” rivers like the San Juan.

Many River Runners believe the San Juan is the best river for small kids anywhere around.  And they were right.

The water temperature is about 80 degrees.  The average depths in July is about 3 feet and the bottom of the river is smooth white sand (with an occasional rocky mild rapid.)

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Milagros Orange Cone Nightmares | Best Mexican Food UtahAt last…. the construction is over and 800 north is wide open.  Great Mexican food is waiting for you at Milagros in Orem.

It’s been a long year.  Road construction has been going on in one form or another for a long time.  It was frustrating to see… days on end… when there were no construction workers working on the road right next to Milagros.  My complaints fell upon deaf ears.  In the night, we would try moving those blasted orange cones around so folks could get into our place.

Sure enough… a couple of days later… they would be back… blocking easy access to Milagros and other businesses on our corner.  After while it became a game.

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London School of Guitar Workshop and Jackson Danger

Yep… Jackson Danger is going to attend the London School of Guitar Workshop on Monday, August 6th, in Park City.  Sarah and I are pretty darn proud of that boy!

He has really worked hard the last couple of years developing his guitar skills.  When he was accepted to this workshop in May, we all jumped up and down and hooted.

The workshop schedule is pretty intense beginning right after the evening registration. An introduction party begins with great food, and performances from special guests.  Afterward, Jackson, Sarah and I will be able to meet the instructors and get a feel for what they will be teaching during the week.  After all the guests scoot back down to the valley, the students will have an open mic jam session.  Jackson is really pumped up about it.

He thinks it will be great to get a feel for what the other students already know and how advanced they are.  Many of the students are much older than he is. (I think he might be a bit nervous… but we know he’s ready and will do just great the entire week.)

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Freedom Festival Parade and Milagros

Milagros Mexican Food restaurant was closed on July 4th so we could participate in Provo, Utah’s annual independence day, Freedom Festival celebration.


The employees, friends and family of Milagros joined hands and marched in the traditional Freedom Festival Grand Parade…. manning a giant helium balloon.

For many years, my wife, the kids and I participated in the parade festivities by sitting in comfortable lawn chairs and on blankets at the curb, under large, cool shade trees.  Little did we know that someday we would sign up to participate in the long walk from the top of University Ave, east on Center street to finish at the 9th East intersection.

It’s quite a walk for a large group, especially with young kids… who were real troopers and hung in there till the end.  See their smiling faces!

Years and year ago… before I was born, (in the “dark ages” of my mom’s era,) the parade floats were sponsored and made by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The parade was simply called “The Fourth Of July Parade.”

Each Stake in the Provo area were assigned to provide two floats.  Those assignments were to various wards each year.  Together, ward members donated their time and talents to building and manning floats, which depicted the theme of the celebration.

Of course, included were the traditional “Queen’s” floats that carried the royalty from each city in the area.  (They still do that goofy wave.)  Bands from all of the local high schools participated also.  At that time, commercial floats were unheard of…. or at least not allowed.

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SUMMER TIME- When Mother nature is at her best, which makes our food ROCK!

Every recipe at Milagros involves fresh natural items from Mother Earth.

I love our food this time of year! The Tomatillos are perfect for roasting, the red leaf lettuce is flavorful and bright with color. Even the Sweet Onions taste sweeter and fresher.

If you have not tried our unique style of preparing Mexican food- now is a great time. Unlike typical Mexican restaurants which used mostly canned, processed items. Milagros fills your plate with fresh Asparagus to Zucchini. Did you know our fresh Pablano Chiles have as much vitamin C as 8 oranges!

That means our Chile Relleno plate nurtures your body with as much as 16 oranges worth of vitamin C! Swing on by all the orange construction barrels and taste the difference!