Here's the story...


Born and raised in a town so small that most maps don't bother to note it, the rural town of Cuautla, Jalisco, situated in between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, gave rise to Ruben Arias who migrated to the United States in 1970.  He arrived at a small mexican restaurant in San Mateo, California that was operated by a relative.  The restaurant had much success in introducing hometown and regional recipes.  Here he learned the unique recipe base which would underpin the success of the first El Toro which opened in Lakewood, WA,  in the fall of 1979.

With a vision of introducing the Tacoma area to the Mexican dining experience and backed with the hardworking ethic instilled in him by his agricultural small town upbringing, Ruben worked hard to establish the popularity of the first tiny 10 table El Toro.  Literally, a one man show for the first year, Ruben would tend the restaurant open to close, preparing in the kitchen the dishes he  would serve directly to the tables.  Once his recipes and humble charm won the loyalty of his patrons, the word spread and the people came in droves forming lines out the door.  At this time he sought the help of his brothers Enrique and Daniel to leverage the popular restaurant and begin a slow but steady growth. 


Today there are five locations in the South Puget Sound area to serve you.  In addition, El Toro has a presence in Logan, Utah as well, serving under the El Toro Viejo name.   El Toro is still a family operated restaurant and is committed to serving quality mexican cuisine, made with the freshest ingredients.  El Toro offers dishes from the traditional such as tacos, burritos and enchiladas to the innovative such as our Molcajete dish.  The traditional decor and family friendly environments are an ideal place to celebrate special occasions or just come in for a casual lunch or dinner.  In addition, El Toro offers full service cantinas to wet the tongue with some of the tastiest margaritas and cocktails in town! 

Recently, Ruben decided that El Toro should offer a healthier mexican option without sacrificing the quality or taste.  Therefore, El Toro has made small but significant changes in the way it prepares its recipes.  For example, El Toro does not use lard in the preparation of the refried beans, a healthier canola oil is used instead.  In addition, El Toro utiliizes the healthier sea salt in its recipes and in its table salt shakers.  All of our sauteed meats such as fajitas and carnitas are cooked with vegetable, soybean, and canola oil as well.

El Toro prides itself in offering great value to its patrons.  As always, complimentary chips and salsa are served with the meals and drinks!  Check out our locations page to see which El Toro is nearest you and come join us today!

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