Margarita and Salvador Avila opened their first restaurant in Huntington Park in 1966.
For more than 50 years, Margarita and Salvador Avila’s El Ranchito restaurants have been a go-to in Orange County for combo plates and margaritas. Regulars will definitely feel the loss the next time they step in for dinner at a place they’ve been coming to for decades.
Margarita Avila, the 93-year-old matriarch behind the Orange County restaurant empire, died at her Corona del Mar home Tuesday, Feb. 5. Avila’s health had weakened about 12 years ago when she suffered a stroke, and she had another last week, her family said.
Her daughters described her as a businesswoman ahead of her time and a role model. She was also a Mexican grandma with a heart of gold.
Avila and her husband Salvador, who celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary last year, immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico. He was working 14-hour days to support his wife and six children when a friend offered to sell him a restaurant for $2,000. In 1966, they opened their first in Huntington Park.
By Anne Valdespino, Orange County Register
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