El Cholo Looks Ahead to Its 100th Year (and a Fun 99th Birthday Deal)

The legendary Southern California restaurants, beloved for their classic Mexican fare, are starting the big celebration a year early.

El Cholo

What to Know

  • El Cholo celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2023; the anniversary's just-unveiled slogan is "Creating Memories for 100 Years!"
  • Guests who are 100 or older may dine free at El Cholo restaurants throughout 2023; other special happenings, including a gala, are coming up, too
  • A 99th-anniversary deal, featuring Carmen's Original Nachos priced at 99 cents, will be available from Oct. 24-27, 2022 from 4 to 9 p.m. (with dinner purchase)

Sliding into an El Cholo booth next to your bestie with the knowledge that you'll soon be splitting a starter plate of nachos and sharing a Fiesta Platter for your main course? With your friend taking the chicken tacos and you going with the beef and the cheese quesadillas up for grabs?

It's the happiest of food-fun feelings, if you're a devoted and discerning maven of Mexican fare, the sort of iconic eats that have pleased generations of Angelenos.

And that's truly what El Cholo has been all about for the last 99 years.

Now the beloved restaurant company is just about to start its centennial year in 2023, but before those deals, parties, and celebrations begin, there's something nice happening in 2022, all to honor the company's 99th anniversary.

If you stop by an El Cholo location, from the original eatery on Western Avenue to the newer spots in Santa Monica, Anaheim Hills, and beyond, you can enjoy a plate of Carmen's Original Nachos (you know these nachos if you know El Cholo) for, oh yes, 99 cents.

When to score this deal?

From Oct. 24 through 27, 2022 from 4 to 9 p.m., which might be the best hours for eating nachos (though any hour is nice for nachos, if we're being fully frank). (Be sure to purchase a dinner, too, to score the savings.)

And when 2023 begins? So do the festive and food-tastic centennial celebrations.

Guests who are 100 years old, or older, may dine for free, throughout 2023, at all El Cholo locations.

And if you're a margarita maven? Plan on sipping the celebratory $100 Margarita at some point in 2023.

The luxe libation will be served in special hand-blown glass, a collectible to keep.

There will be several "A Taste of History" meals popping up during the milestone year, and the commemorative plates seen under these classic goodies? They'll be available for purchase.

While these popular meals from the past will be making limited-time appearances, one will stay: Chicken Mole Enchiladas.

And longtime El Cholo fans will appreciate how this dish will live on: The year "2023" will appear on menus alongside the hearty favorite, "in keeping with the tradition that many of the classic food items served by the restaurant have long included their years of origin next to their listings on the menu."

There are other major anniversary happenings, too, including a red-carpet gala in October 2023, a pretty patio expansion at the original El Cholo on Western Avenue, and a brand-new location in Salt Lake City.

And another wonderful milestone is coming up in 2023: The 90th birthday of owner Ron Salisbury, so be sure to wish him well if you see him while dining out at one of the restaurants.

"Many other restaurants, when they approach 100, start slowing down or taking their eye off the ball," says Mr. Salisbury, who is the grandson of Alejandro and Rosa Borquez, who founded the original Sonora Café nearly a century ago.

"But we still stand firmly at the top of our game. We continue to be aggressive in providing the best Mexican restaurant experience possible — one that only El Cholo can offer."

"Myself, my kids, my grandkids and even my great-grandkids are proudly committed to continuing the El Cholo tradition — one that my grandparents began way back in 1923 — well into the future!"

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