Rapt attention

Monday, April 17, 2023

Taquito Time


There was a good article online the other day about El Indio in San Diego. They claim that they invented the taquito and they very well may have. 

El Indio was founded in 1940 on the corner of India and Grape Streets by a man named Ralph Pesqueira Sr. A worker at one of the local airplane factories at the time, he started El Indio as a tortilla factory alongside his parents.

“It was like a little tortilla factory where they were making tortillas by hand,” his granddaughter and third-generation owner of El Indio, Jennifer Pesqueira, said to FOX5SanDiego.com. “He worked in the local factory making airplanes during the night and then worked in El Indio during the day with his parents.”

El Indio has been a part of the San Diego landscape for a long time. My friend Tom did a lot of concrete work there for them. Amazing that they are responsible for something a ubiquitous as the taquito, or at least they brought it up from Sonora.

I am a San Diego native but must confess to never have been a huge fan of the place. It was good but there were other places I liked better.  I thought their tortilla conveyor was cool.

When I ran a construction crew we used to go to a place on Imperial Avenue that sold ten taquitos for a dollar and we would literally order hundreds of them to go for lunch. Can't remember the name, might have been Chueys.

The first Mexican restaurant I remember going to as a kid was Don Jose's, maybe the Sombrero. Consuelos. There is a good rundown on historic Mexican food in San Diego here

Two places that are not mentioned on the list are Bea's Rancho Chico and the first fast food Mexican restaurant I can ever remember, Azteca Taco on Rosecrans.

Bea's was owned by a friend of my boss. Azteca was seemingly there forever but I don't believe exists any more. They were there late fifties or early sixties and up. That was the place we usually stopped. 

Later Eden Gardens became the destination for Mex. Tony's Jacal, The Bluebird and Fidel's. Everybody had their favorite, mine was probably Tony's with their turkey offerings. Robertito's showed up finally and basically changed the taco landscape forever with its stores and their imitators.

Any of you long time San Diegans ever yearn for their old taco shop? Which one?


RoxAnn said...

La Piñata in Old Town. I used to go there in the early 70s with a dear family friend who was like a grandmother to me. She was all of 4’10” and could make some mean enchiladas herself. Tio Leo’s is pretty good too on Napa St.

Blue Heron said...

In my 20’s my Dad picked me up sometimes at the airport. He used to stop at El Indio afterwards. Warm memories of the place. Enjoyed the ‘Azteca’ themed murals.