If you find yourself craving fresh and delicious Mexican food in the Northwestern United States, there is no need to fly all the way to Mexico, just find your nearest El Tapatio restaurant. With locations in California, Oregon, and Washington, they are ready to serve you authentic Mexican recipes at fantastic prices, leaving your mouth and your wallet equally satisfied. This business is family-owned and family-run, and they have made a commitment to presenting the best traditional Mexican recipes using fresh ingredients and the healthiest cooking methods available. As they say on their website, they want you to feel like you’re eating at your grandma’s house whenever you dine with them.
From humble origins to a successful operation: The incredible story of the chain of El Tapatio restaurants starts with just one man. Efren Guitron, the founder of El Tapatio, was born and raised in a tiny, rural town called Cuautla, in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. This town, located between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, is in fact so small that most maps do not bother to even list it! Efren Guitron made his way to the United States in 1970 to create a new life for himself. He began working for a relative at their restaurant in Seattle, Washington, and learned all about how to run a restaurant and use authentic, regional recipes. Ten years later, in the fall of 1980, Efren Guitron opened his first El Tapatio restaurant in Milwaukie, Oregon. This first restaurant was small, only ten tables, and Guitron operated it literally by himself for five years. He was the owner, host, cook, waiter and dishwasher! He was dedicated and worked incredibly hard to create delicious food and an appealing atmosphere and after five years, his work paid off. The restaurant’s popularity grew quickly, there were lines of customers waiting to get a table, so he began to expand and the brand is still growing to this day, nearly 30 years later. El Tapatio now has more than 20 different branches in 3 different states and continues to be a customer favorite.
A commitment to quality, health and authenticity
Since the beginning, Guitron wanted to ensure that his diners had not only a delicious experience, but an authentic one as well. To that end, they prefer to use family recipes that have been passed down through the generations as well as traditional regional recipes from Mexico. However, they have incorporated a few unique dishes that add a twist of the United States and Guitron’s own creativity into the menu. To be sure that everything will taste incredible, El Tapatio uses only fresh, quality ingredients. Guitron recently chose to take some steps to make their menu selections healthier as well. The chefs took some time and have created adapted recipes that no longer use any lard or other unhealthy oils. The menu now features all the Mexican dishes their customers love, with the same fantastic flavor, but now they are all prepared with healthier alternatives, like vegetable and canola oils.
An atmosphere to make you feel right at home
Guitron strongly believes in making his diners feel comfortable in his restaurants. He wants each customer to feel like they are visiting family, from the home-style recipes, to the décor. All El Tapatio restaurants have been designed and decorated to be colorful, welcoming, and homey. This relaxed, cheerful atmosphere reinforces the backbone of family for this brand and makes dining in at the restaurant a great choice for any occasion, for guests of all ages.
Something for everyone: a look at the menu
The menu is vast, with dozens of options. You will find familiar favorites, including guacamole, nachos, quesadillas, tacos, fajitas, burritos, and enchiladas. However, you will also be able to try a few items that are a bit more unique. Guitron himself is especially proud of the molcajete. This dish comes served in a hot stone bowl, like a mortar. You can choose which meat you would like featured, and that comes accompanied by their homemade salsa verde, beans, radishes, sautéed cactus and Monterrey Jack, Cotija and Oaxaca cheeses. Nearly everything on the menu is served with generous portions of rice, beans and homemade tortillas on the side. And, of course, every table is greeted with tortilla chips and salsa.
Whatever the occasion, come celebrate with El Tapatio
No matter how formal or casual, how planned or spontaneous, El Tapatio is a great choice for any event. The colorful dining rooms make eating at the restaurants a joy. The welcoming atmosphere is great for all kinds of customers, from college buddies wanting to celebrate over a pitcher of margaritas in the cantina, to families wanting to eat with babies and grandparents. If your event would be better suited to a different venue, they offer a full catering service allowing you to enjoy their authentic recipes wherever your celebration takes you. They offer specials for lunch, making this an ideal choice to spice up the middle of your work day. They also have dine-in or take away options, so that you can still enjoy delicious, authentic flavor even if you do not have the time to enjoy the dining room atmosphere. Every Sunday, they have a huge brunch. The options include a taco bar, omelet bar, beans, rice, enchiladas, a dessert bar, and more. They also, naturally, include a selection of horchata and mimosas. On Tuesdays, they have a Taco Tuesday event all day, where you can make your own tacos at the extensive taco bar. Be creative and stuff your fresh tortillas with lengua, chorizo, carnitas, steak or chicken. As if these weekly deals were not already enough reason to come to El Tapatio, they also have a daily happy hour every afternoon from 3-7 and again from 9 until they close. They boast that they make the best margaritas around, and the only way for you to find out, would be to head on over and try one. For more information about their menu and locations, visit their website at www.eltapatiocuisine.com.