Los Angeles renames intersection to honor El Cholo’s 100th Anniversary

by Allen Esrock | May 16, 2023 | Celebrating Family Business

Angelenos know the corner of Western Ave and 11th Street as the original home of El Cholo, Los Angeles most iconic and beloved Mexican Restaurant.  Now they will know it as:

ALEJANDRO AND ROSA BORQUEZ SQUARE
IN HONOR OF THE FOUNDERS OF EL CHOLO
IN LOS ANGELES IN 1923

The renaming ceremony took place on the morning of March 30, 2023, and was hosted by Ron Salisbury (age 90!), the owner of the Family of El Cholo Restaurants and the Grandson of the Founders; Brendon Salisbury, the CFO of the Family of El Cholo Restaurants and a Great-Grandson of the Founders; Heather Hutt, the LA City Councilwoman of the 10th District; and Michelle Phillips, the legendary Singer of the ‘60’s band “The Mamas and The Papas” — an El Cholo “Super Fan” and Longtime Customer.

In attendance at today’s ceremony were dozens of Salisbury Family members; “super fans” of El Cholo; members of the general public; and media reporters.  One of the most significant group of attendees was the large number of remarkably loyal El Cholo Restaurant Managers and staff members, many of whom have put in 20-50 years of continuous service!  Says Ron Salisbury, “El Cholo isn’t just a place to eat. It’s part of the culture of Los Angeles and has been for a century now.”

El Cholo History

In 1922, Ron Salisbury’s Grandfather, Alejandro Borquez, who had recently moved to the sleepy town of Los Angeles with his young bride, Rosa, a culinarily-gifted young woman (and Ron Salisbury’s Grandmother,) pushed back from the dinner table and complimented her: “You are such a good cook, Rosa, we should open a restaurant.” Rosa, who puts care and attention into her love of cooking for everyone, has learned these special recipes during her childhood days living in the Arizona territory.

In 1923, the Borquez Family opened Sonora Café, named for their home state, Sonora, Mexico. The site of the restaurant is in Downtown LA, on Broadway and Santa Barbara Ave. (near the LA Coliseum – which also opened in 1923). The original menu includes very early California plates, including now legendary sweet green corn tamales.

Six El Cholo restaurants are currently operating in Southern California – the original site on Western Ave., Downtown Los Angeles, Anaheim Hills, Corona del Mar, La Habra, and Santa Monica. The successful legacy of El Cholo lies in its commitment to the highest-quality ingredients, renowned service, and truly unique atmosphere, and a long, family-owned history”.  Says Ron Salisbury, “To me, El Cholo represents a cross-section of what LA is really all about – we have people coming in Rolls Royces and people taking the bus. We have students, wealthy people, people barely getting along, and even some struggling actors. You name it, they come here. To me, that’s always been a big part of our everlasting charm.”

Throughout LA’s transformation from a sleepy little town to one of the world’s most significant cities, El Cholo, in true Hollywood glamour, has steadfastly held firm to its mission, and has continued to flourish, bringing its famous food, drinks, ambience and service to its hundreds of thousands of cherished and devoted patrons, in Southern California and around the world.

Green Corn Tamales

The power of family business is that it encompasses both the “family” and the “business”.  Green Corn Tamales epitomizes how these two factors work together to create a powerful bond.  Ron Salisbury begins, “Our Green Corn Tamales are unique and truly one of a kind! For some reason, whenever I run into someone new, the first thing they will mention to me about El Cholo is that they love the Green Corn Tamales – and that’s even though they are only a seasonal offering.”  The importance of the tamales extends beyond the food.  “Our Green Corn Tamales are one of the greatest tools by which we’ve been able to both honor our ancestors’ traditions while also bonding with our customers for 100 years. All seven of my children, at one time in their lives as a rite of passage, have made Green Corn Tamales for El Cholo guests during their summer vacations!”

Green Corn Tamales Recipe

If you can’t get to El Cholo to savor the Green Corn Tamales, Ron has consented to share the famous Green Corn Tamales recipe.

To prepare El Cholo’s famous Green Corn Tamales – tamales de elote – shuck fresh green corn, cut off the kernels, grind them, then whip the results with butter, cream and a dash of sugar. After adding in a bit of cornmeal, then convert the ingredients into a light, creamy mass – portions are then formed into six-inch-long fluffy mounds filled with aged, year-old, yellow cheddar cheese and Ortega chiles. Each tamale is then wrapped inside a green corn husk, tied with a string, and steamed.

Enjoy!

Allen Esrock is the Founder of NxtGen Nexus, a platform for the next generation of family business owners which is based on his experience of growing up in a family business. Prior to that he started Jitter Fingers, the first safe, social networking website for tween girls and their bffs with Jitter Finger clubs in 12+ countries and 250+ cities in the US.

About the Author

Allen Esrock is the Founder of NxtGen Nexus, a platform for the next generation of family business owners which is based on his experience of growing up in a family business. Prior to that he started Jitter Fingers, the first safe, social networking website for tween girls and their bffs with Jitter Finger clubs in 12+ countries and 250+ cities in the US.