The original exterior of El Cholo, celebrating its 95th birthday
The original exterior of El Cholo, celebrating its 95th birthday
Courtesy El Cholo

El Cholo Celebrates 95 Years With 95-Cent Combo Dinner on Tuesday, Oct. 23

Celebrating its 95th year, El Cholo will offer its all-time best-selling item, a No. 1 combination plate (cheese enchilada, rolled beef taco, Spanish rice and refried beans), for 95 cents all day on Tuesday, Oct. 23., at all six of its restaurant locations.

One of L.A.’s first restaurants, the two-room Sonora Cafe opened its doors near the Coliseum at what was Broadway and Santa Barbara Avenue in 1923. As the story goes, two years later a guest wandered into the cafe and, while waiting for dinner, doodled the figure of a man on the menu and captioned it “El Cholo,” the name given to field hands of the Spanish settlers in California at the time. Cafe owner Alejandro Borquez loved the scribble and the man and changed the name of his restaurant.

By 1927 the family had expanded to an old Craftsman bungalow at 11th Street and Western Avenue, and the rest is Los Angeles history, with six locations in all across Southern California now owned by various family members.

El Cholo Celebrates 95 Years With 95-Cent Combo Dinner on Tuesday, Oct. 23
Courtesy El Cholo

Posters advertised, “You can bet your sombrero (if you have one) that El Cholo is the best Spanish cafe in town” and even offered takeout. Many of the original menu items are still popular, such as the Sonora enchilada and the famous green corn tamales, available from May through October.

Since first opening its doors in 1923, El Cholo has been a family-owned and -run business. Today it's headed by Ron Salisbury, grandson of the founders.

All the locations are listed at elcholo.com.

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