958 South Fair Oaks Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91105
On the Web: www.elcholopasadena.com
Hours of Operation: Monday - Thursday: 11:00 am- 10:00 pm /Friday & Saturday: 11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Sunday: 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
El Cholo Café, one of Southern California's oldest and most famous Mexican restaurants, has put down its roots in Pasadena. And doing so, has received what some might say a surprisingly warm welcome from many of the area's other Mexican restaurants including Alcapulco, El Portal, El Torito and Mijares.
The eateries claim their sales haven't suffered since the café moved into their neighborhood.
"It's wonderful to have three great restaurants------Mijares,
El Cholo Café and El Portal restaurant --- in the area" said
Abel Ramirez, owner of El Portal Restaurant on Green Street in the Playhouse District of Pasadena, just one - half mile from
Ramirez concedes he attended the grand opening of El Cholo on Oct 22, 2000 and saw many of his own customers there. "I passed by them and I said, "What are you doing here?" and they said "The same thing you are doing here."
Los Angeles -based El Cholo Café opened three weeks ago on South Fair Oaks Avenue in the former digs of The John Bull, a British pub.
El Cholo has already grossed nearly $300,000.00 in sales over those few weeks, drawing patrons who used to drive to the original El Cholo on Western Avenue in Los Angeles.
Ramirez said he doesn't view the new restaurant as competition because it specializes in a different kind of Mexican food. El Portal Restaurant has created Yucatan-style dishes for the past 17 years, while El Cholo Café specializes in Sonoran style food.
"I think when a new restaurant opens in town , everybody is going to try it, but we've created our own identity and attracted a number of customers, so they'll continue with us," Ramirez said.
El Cholo owner Blair Salisbury , who is the great grandson of the original El Cholo Café founders Rosa and Alejandro Borquez, doesn't see his restaurant as a threat to others either.
"Restaurants like Mijares who have been around for 80 years have developed their own clientele. If they've been there that long, I assume they're doing something right," Salisbury said. "I think there's enough people to go around for all of us."
Blair Salisbury chose to build El Cholo in Pasadena because of the city's continuous business growth, loyal clientele and freeway accessibility.
"The city doesn't stand still and they're focused on promoting themselves," he said. "Also, we're centrally located and can draw customers from San Marino, South Pasadena and Arcadia."
It took $2.2 million from more than 40 local investors to open the 9,700-square-foot El Cholo. Salisbury's goal is to generate $5.5 million within his first year and by next summer, he hopes to begin looking into opening another El Cholo Café in the Santa Clarita Valley near his home in Stevenson Ranch. "I'm hoping to carry on the tradition like my family did," Salisbury said.