Avila’s El Ranchito Mexican Restaurant
204 Avenida Del Mar
The first Avila’s restaurant in the chair opened 50 years ago in Huntington Park, and in 2004 Avila’s El Ranchito Mexican Restaurant opened in San Clemente.
Today, Victor Avila, the son of the original owners, and his son, Marcus, both live in San Clemente and are celebrating the chain’s golden anniversary.
On Thursday, Sept. 1, they will host a party with specials and raffle prizes from 5 p.m. until closing
“When I was young, everyone chipped in to get the restaurant started,” Victor said. “The restaurant grew a bit, and somehow or another we started thinking of giving my parents a vacation, and I liked the business and they were always supportive.”
Today there are 13 locations in Orange, San Diego and Los Angeles counties.
“I think a lot of it is just truly loving the business,” Marcus said. “It was just one of those things I missed. I went away from it for a little while, but once you’re in it and love it you want to come back.”
The recipes are original from Victor’s mother, and all the locations have similar menus but local dishes can vary.
“There’s so many generations (involved),” Victor said. “It’s great that people can experience the dishes I grew up enjoying.”