The matriarch and co-founder of iconic Mexican restaurant chain Avila’s El Ranchito, Margarita Avila, has died. She was 93 years old.
After suffering a stroke 12 years ago, Avila’s health continued to deteriorate. She suffered an additional stroke last week, according to the Orange County Register, and died not long afterwards.
Avila’s El Ranchito maintains a lengthy history in Southern California. After immigrating from Guanajuato, Mexico, Margarita Avila’s husband bought the family’s first Huntington Park location for $2,000 in 1966. Margarita’s family recipes proved successful, and the company began expanding in the 1970s to now include 13 family-run restaurants throughout Southern California. The Huntington Park location still remains busy, with additional locations in Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Foothill Ranch, Huntington Beach, Lake Forest, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Newport Beach, Orange, Santa Ana, San Clemente, and Seal Beach.
The Los Angeles Times notes that Margarita Avila was preceded in death by son, Jose Luis; and is survived by her husband, Salvador Avila daughters, Maria Elena and Margarita; sons, Salvador Avila Jr., Victor, Sergio, and Avila’s 14 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.