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Monday, July 28, 2008

Innovations and tradition lead to booming restaurant business

During my recent stay in San Diego, my husband insisted we go to El Indio restaurant for some takeout Mexican food. So we dragged our kids to wait outside in the long line, and for them to abruptly take our order, so that we could wait another ten minutes for our food to be made. Let me tell you, it was well worth it. Just for the experience of ordering your food there, but the food was fabulous as well. Lots of fun, and one of my most distinct experiences on our trip. The place has been around at its current location since 1947, so they have a long history of great food and tradition, in a city with tons of great Mexican restaurants.

El Indio was founded by Ralph Pesqueira Sr. At the time, he made the fresh corn tortillas by hand. According to their website, Ralph is responsible for coining the word “taquito”, meaning little taco, because during the second world war, customers at the factories were looking for ready to eat lunch items and this was the idea he came up with.

Another innovation Ralph is responsible for is the invention of the first tortilla machine, which he made in his basement in San Diego. This machine allowed him to increase production from 30 dozen tortillas per day to over 30 dozen per hour. He then began to supply local restaurants with tortillas as well. Ralph’s son Ralph Jr. took over the business in 1981 when his father passed away. His daughters are currently being groomed to take over the business in the future.

El Indio has become an international phenomenon, having provided care packages to soldiers in Vietnam and Desert Storm. Over the years many local politicians in Congress have requested “El Indio Care Packages” to be sent to Washington . Even a couple Presidents have tried El Indio food while in the White House. Gotta say it's a must have while in the San Diego area. I'm kind of craving it now.


Mommy Meryl said...

I LOVE Mexican food!! Its my fave!! My husband is originally from NY and he says he says he has never eaten so much mexican food since he met me. . .but chips/salsa, chocolate and sushi would be heaven for me!!

t said...

I would love to check out that restaurant if I'm ever there.