El Cholo founders honored during centennial year

| March 30, 2023 | 0 Comments

ROSA AND ALEJANDRO BORQUEZ opened The Sonora Cafe (near Memorial Coliseum), and the restaurant soon became El Cholo.

El Cholo’s beginnings may have been humble, but the restaurant’s 100th year is worthy of its long and colorful history serving authentic Mexican cuisine. Among the commemorating events so far was the unveiling of a street intersection named after its founders.

Family members joined celebrities and city officials at the intersection of Western Avenue and 11th Street on March 30, where new street corner signs read, “Alejandro and Rosa Borquez Square, the Founders of El Cholo in Los Angeles in 1923.”

The Borquezes’ grandson, Ron Salisbury, 90, owner of the El Cholo chain of restaurants, was scheduled to be joined by his son, Brendon Salisbury, CFO of the restaurant company.

Also expected at the unveiling was longtime El Cholo patron and singer Michelle Phillips, founding member of The Mamas and The Papas, City Councilwoman Heather Hutt and City Dept. of Transportation officials.

El Cholo, which is part of Salisbury’s company, Restaurant Business Inc., is credited as the third-oldest continuously-operating Mexican restaurant in the United States.

Its success is rooted in the traditional recipes originated by Rosa Borquez, who, with her husband, Alejandro, opened the first El Cholo (then called the Sonora Café after the couple’s home state in Mexico) in 1923 near the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (which opened the same year).

In 1926, after the Borquezes’ daughter Aurelia met her future husband, George Salisbury, his mother mortgaged her home to help the couple open at the Western Avenue site in 1927.

From its start, with one counter, eight stools and three booths, Hollywood stars and locals dined on enchiladas and freshly made tortillas.

In 1931, Aurelia and George moved El Cholo to the other side of Western, where the original El Cholo stands today.

A 100th Anniversary Red Carpet Gala will take place there in October.

Meanwhile, the Centennial Celebration continues. Make a $100 charitable donation and receive a VIP Nachos Card for free nachos through 2023. It’s part of a $1 million fundraising effort by El Cholo benefitting pediatric cancer research at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Visit elcholo.com for ways to help.

And while you’re there, check out the new menu.

Items featured include one newly added for 2023 (mole chicken enchilada) as well as a 1923 original: green corn tamales.

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Category: Entertainment

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