Starts with an elopement back in the early 1960’s in the Mexican state of Michoacan. Despite the wishes of her family, a young woman named Celia saw something special in the poor but industrious Moises Palomo and married him. He worked hard picking strawberries, avocados, or whatever needed to be harvested, until he was able to send for his wife. Celia arrived and began working in a factory while Moises worked a number of jobs.
Moises and his wife saved up enough money over time to buy a little house, but decided to buy a restaurant, despite everyone telling them it would be a bad idea. They stayed in their one bedroom apartment and invested their money in the small restaurant (nothing more than a grill and a counter). This all happened in 1969, and the location of that first restaurant is the very same El Tarasco that is there today on Rosecrans in the city of Manhattan Beach.
Little by little, Celia (who did the cooking) added dinners and other items to the menu. The success of the little restaurant was in large part due to location, location, location. El Tarasco provided a place where people could go and get filled up for a reasonable price. The second El Tarasco opened up 8 years later in El Segundo.
The item which first distinguished El Tarasco from other restaurants, and really made a name for them, is the Jr. Super Deluxe Burrito. This burrito was created by Moises’ daughter around 1970. She walked into the kitchen one day with the intention of creating her own burrito. When she was finished her father asked for a bite. He said, “you know what, you’ve got something there, let’s put that on the menu!” It took off from there and is today the most popular plate. Moises and Celia had five children.
The idea behind the name ‘El Tarasco’ was that the native Indian tribe of the Palomo’s homeland would associate the restaurant with serving food that featured authentic Michoacan flavor. The Palomo family also invested early on in an avocado ranch down south (which supplies their restaurant with the green fruit). From picking avocados as a migrant worker to owning a whole plantation of the trees simply for the use of his successful El Tarasco restaurants, which started 33 years ago in the smallest of eateries.
Moises and Celia Palomo were two individuals destined to make an impossible dream reality. With all odds against the couple they successfully raised five children and lived the true American dream. In 1997 Celia passed away and less than a year later her husband, Moises, joined her continuing their love eternally.