Mexican restaurant El Cholo turns 100 and celebrates with free food and a $100 margarita – Daily News

If you happen to turn 100 in 2023, an iconic Los Angeles restaurant is offering a tasty gift to centenarians next year.

El Cholo, which opened in 1923 and quickly became popular for serving dishes like enchiladas, beef and chili peppers and green corn tamales, is gearing up for its 100th anniversary with several specials in the works, including free meals for everyone who turns 100.

Those who survived the Great Depression, World War II, who were shaken down by Elvis, who survived hippies, disco, hair metal and who still love good food will be able to eat for free, whenever they want, throughout 2023.

“We thought we owed it to them if they were 100 and still able to eat Mexican food,” said Ron Salisbury, the grandson of the original founders of El Cholo, who won’t be able to enjoy the special since he’s only turning 90 next year.

  • Ron Salisbury, owner of Mexican restaurant El Cholo, and his great-granddaughter Gracie Tidwell. The iconic LA restaurant turns 100 in 2023 with food and drink specials. (Photo courtesy of El Cholo)

  • The Mexican restaurant El Cholo celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2023...

    Mexican restaurant El Cholo celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2023 with food and drink specials. (Photo courtesy of El Cholo)

  • The Mexican restaurant El Cholo celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2023...

    Mexican restaurant El Cholo celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2023 with food and drink specials. (Photo courtesy of El Cholo)

For those under a century, El Cholo is offering birthday promotions that will be available to everyone next year, including a fancy $100 margarita and the return of classic dishes to celebrate the milestone.

“It’s a wonderful feeling of warmth. I never thought I would live to see this anniversary,” Salisbury said.

And since turning 99 is no small feat, the restaurant will celebrate its anniversary this year by selling its Carmen’s popular original nachos, which are usually $7.95, for just 99 cents between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Oct. 24-27 with a meal purchase.

Originally opened as Sonora Café by Mexican native Alejandro Borquez and his wife Rosa Borquez, before being renamed El Cholo in 1927, the restaurant has become part of the fabric of Southern California, with celebrities like Hollywood icons Bing Crosby, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper. and Nat King Cole as first regulars.

It’s a place that’s also become popular with families, who come for hearty meal combos, as well as students and nearby sports fans who come to eat after watching a game at the Coliseum, Salisbury noted. .

“My favorite definition of what a restaurant is is to make you feel good about yourself,” he said. “And I think over the years people have felt really good here. We’ve been making great memories for 100 years.

Today, there are six El Cholo restaurants in the area, including the original location on Western Avenue in Los Angeles and others in Downtown Los Angeles, Anaheim Hills, Corona del Mar, La Habra and Santa Monica.

El Cholo is known for its cohesive menu that includes things like flour tortillas, which are still handmade from Rosa Borquez’s century-old recipe, as well as century-old dishes like Sonora-style enchiladas made with stewed chicken, green and red sauce and a fried egg. , as well as the restaurant’s famous green corn tamales, which are rolled out every year between May and October.

And when new dishes are added, the menu notes the year each debuted. Blue corn chicken enchiladas were added in 1985 and fish tacos first appeared in 2001.

“Of course our food has to be really, really good and people have to feel welcome; they need to feel that we care and are always tweaking things because we feel it’s important to move forward all the time,” Salisbury said.

While official plans are still being finalized, the 100th anniversary celebration will include the return of several classic dishes not currently on the menu, such as the Spanish omelette.

“The omelette took so long to make, but it was so popular that by lunchtime we sold 23 and the kitchen couldn’t keep up,” he recalls. “It was so popular that we had to take it off the menu.”

Since El Cholo is also famous for its various potent margaritas, the centennial celebration will also include this $100 14-ounce margarita. Salisbury said bartenders are still working on the exact recipe, but it will be made with several premium “exotic” tequilas and served in a mouth-blown glass for people to take home.

Salisbury and his team are hosting a gala, which will take place at the original location of El Cholo next October and said there are plans to expand this restaurant with a new patio. There’s also an El Cholo restaurant opening in Salt Lake City, Utah next fall.

“We are always trying to improve, even though we are 100 years old,” Salisbury said.

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