Alejandro Borquez pushes back from the dinner table and says to his beautiful young bride, Rosa,”You are such a good cook we should open up a restaurant”


The Borquezes open the Sonora Cafe in a small storefront on Broadway and Santa Barbara Avenue (near the Coliseum).


A guest wanders in for dinner and while he is waiting for his dinner draws a figure of a man on the menu and calls him “EL CHOLO”.  (In those days the name given their field hands by the Spanish settlers in California). History is made when Alejandro likes the man and the name and immediately changes SONORA CAFE to EL CHOLO CAFE.




George Salisbury is eating dinner at EL CHOLO and meets the Borquez’s daughter, Aurelia. They court, decide to marry and open their own EL CHOLO.


In a storefront at 11th and Western they open EL CHOLO with 8 stools, 3 booths and a hot top stove on which they heat the tortillas on the top, melt the cheese enchiladas underneath. That stove is still on display in our lobby.


Joe Reina comes to work as a dishwasher. Shortly thereafter becomes head chef -a job that is to last 54 years and forever influence the Mexican restaurant industry.

A Taste

of history


Carmen Rocha joins EL CHOLO. She starts making a dish called “nachos” that she made in her hometown of San Antonio. Again History is made.


Aurelia and George’s son, Ron, opens our La Habra location making El Cholo a 3rd generation, family-owned restaurant.


A longtime guest one night says “let me show you how to make a great margarita.” Again history is made. Eventually EL CHOLO becomes the world’s largest user of Cuervo 1800 Tequila and the first to introduce premium ingredients in a margarita.

George Salisbury transfers ownership to his son Ron.


95 years


4th and 5th generation now working at the restaurants!


El Cholo Santa Monica opens with the original neon sign hangining in the dining room.


El Cholo opens in Downtown Los Angeles across from Staples center & Nokia / LA Live.  Our Filet Mignon Tacos are awarded Best Taco.


We open our 5th location in Anaheim Hills and celebrate 90 years!


Another El Cholo at the beach on PCH in Corona del Mar!!

El Cholo Restaurants

Los Angeles - Downtown LA - Santa Monica - La Habra - Anaheim Hills - Corona Del Mar