I remember El Cholo very fondly during this time. I graduated from BYU in 1954. Started to co-manage with my uncle Jimmy Salisbury and my Dad and Mom moved to Northern California, buying a home at Clear Lake.

El Cholo had yet to install air conditioning, and had vinyl linoleum floors that required waxing weekly. In 1952 we had our 25th anniversary (in Los Angeles that was a big deal at the time) and the next year my Dad had added a waiting room on the front that extended all the way to the front sidewalk giving our guests who had to formerly form a line down the sidewalk and a nice lounge to sit in with two new small restrooms.  The women’s restroom was especially appreciated as it replaced the old one which was the original bathroom for the house we took over and contained a bathtub which puzzled some guests.

This was also the era of budding actors. Much is made about Jack Nicholson but a friend of his Will Hutchins gained fame first starring in a major TV series Sugarfoot in 1957. Monte Hellman who gained a degree of respect and notoriety as a producer/director was also a part of the group.

It was still a time were everyone had a cup of coffee and a cigarette at the end of each meal and the great array of pictures on the walls had not started yet. The pictures eventually came out of a recognized need to share our story which simply was family, the interesting guests that dined with us and incorporating our growing history with that of our great city’s. It was a time when on Wednesday nights we would be packed with USC students eager for that large plate of Mexican food for only $1. One student stood out, Tom. He was not the self confident fraternity guy. He would shuffle in, no shoes, and would have to be reminded to get his shoes on.

Upon graduation (I wondered at times if he ever would) he moved to Hawaii and became a surfer.  One day Tom sent me a letter asking advice on how to convert a little beach shack to a very humble Mexican restaurant. I wrote back, heard nothing more and just assumed Tom’s restaurant dreams never happened.  Years later I was walking through Corona Del Mar and a massive display of boogie boards filled the front window. It was Tom Morey’s Boogie Board which had revolutionized the surfing industry.

Visit our family of Restaurants

Los Angeles - The Original

1121 S. Western Ave Los Angeles CA 90006

Santa Monica

1025 Wilshire Blvd Santa Monica CA 90401

Downtown Los Angeles

1037 S. Flower St Los Angeles CA 90015

Anaheim Hills

8200 E. Santa Ana Canyon Rd., Anaheim CA 92808

Corona Del Mar

3520 E. Coast Highway Corona Del Mar CA 92625

La Habra

840 E. Whittier Blvd La Habra CA 90631