El Canelo – Shenango Township

Have I mentioned yet that I really love tacos?  I could eat just tacos for the rest of my life and be happy. 

Growing up in small town Western Pennsylvania, it was not until my adolescence that I was introduced to anything remotely considered traditional Mexican food. We grew up eating Taco Bell and Chi-Chi’s for our Mexican fix. It wasn’t until El Canelo opened in New Castle (around 2003) that I got to experience more traditional Mexican food.

El Canelo has four locations, three of which are in New Castle. I am most familiar with the locations in Shenango and Neshannock. The location in Shenango was originally a KFC. You can still see the foundations of the fast food joint even after its make-over. 

El Canelo in Shenango, formerly KFC

While still Americanized in comparison to some more Mexican restaurants I have seen elsewhere, I have a soft spot for this place. I still come back here almost every time I visit home, partly out of nostalgia, but partly because I enjoy the food.

On Tuesday night, I met one of my friends from high school for dinner at El Canelo in Shenango.  It looked very much the same since I was last here. However, I noticed that their salsa recipe has changed. I actually like this new salsa better. It has less of a raw tomato taste and is smoother.

I ordered the Chile Verde Special la Casa, two beef tips burritos smothered with queso and a green chile sauce. I had never seen that on the menu before.


I have had this dish minus the verde sauce off their lunch menu. The salsa verde was a great addition. It gives it a bit more flavor and kick than just the queso. This meal satisfied my craving for El Canelo. 

This restaurant serves the best Mexican food in my hometown. There is nothing that could even come close. I always enjoy coming to El Canelo when I am in town. The food is good, and the service is quick. I am very fond of this place. 

*This post reflects my honest views. I did not receive any compensation or other incentives to post this review.

El Canelo
2506 Ellwood Rd, New Castle, PA 16101