In 1946, Woody Johnson and his wife, Victoria, opened Woody’s El Nido, or The Nest, at 37 W. McDowell Road in Phoenix with just six tables and a counter. The Johnsons added Little Woody’s in 1951, and then Macayo’s on Central Avenue a year later.
Early on, the menus were a mix of Mexican and American food to appeal to finicky diners who didn’t want spicy food, says Sharisse Johnson, the couple’s daughter and CEO of Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen.
“People were so scared of Mexican food, you had to have other things on your menu,” she says.
The Johnsons opened their first restaurant, Woody's El Nido, at 37 W. McDowell Road in 1946 using recipes Woody got from his mother, Pablo Macias.
"We were so small the produce companies wouldn't deliver to us," Vicki said in a 1985 interview. "Woody had to go pick up the lettuce, onions and tomatoes at the produce market." They didn't have a car and borrowed her brother's station wagon.