What happened to El Torito Mexican restaurant in Fresno, California?

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Fresno’s El Torito Mexican restaurant is officially a souvenir.

The restaurant in downtown Fresno, which was the venue for business meetings and late-night margaritas, was demolished on Friday.

The Tulare Street restaurant closed abruptly in October 2018.

The company did not say why it closed the restaurant. But at the time, the restaurant’s troubled owner was closing restaurants across the country after two bankruptcies in six years.

El Torito, Chevys Fresh Mex, and Acapulco Restaurant y Cantina were all owned by Cypress, California, Real Mex Restaurants. All three once had locations in Fresno, but all have closed. (River Park’s Chevys is now Texas de Brazil Churrascaria Steakhouse.)

By Friday, El Torito had been reduced to a pile of rubble. Twisted metal cooking equipment and fans were stacked in one corner. Pieces of tree were mixed in with the debris.

The restaurant’s brightly colored walls and murals, including one that read “Tijuana Taxi,” were exposed to the sun on Friday as the building was half-demolished. Its green door lay on its side above the debris.

It is not yet clear what – if anything – is planned for the property.

On social media on Friday, El Torito fans were mourning the destruction of the building and sharing memories of their time there.

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Members of the Facebook group For the Love of Downtown Fresno mourned the Mexican restaurant El Torito, which was demolished on Friday. Facebook screenshot

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The El Torito restaurant in downtown Fresno was demolished on Friday. It closed in 2018, when it was pictured in this file photo. Bethany Clough fresno bee

This story was originally published March 25, 2022 2:27 p.m.

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Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A journalist for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other economic news. She has a journalism degree from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.

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