Recipe for success: superior meals, company, rates

ON THE MENU— Above, El Tecolote owner Ben Guardado. At right, a generous portion of Monterey chicken enchiladas: grilled chicken with tomatillo sauce, garnished with guacamole and sour cream with sides of rice and refried beans. Photos by ELA LINDSAY Acorn Newspapers

ON THE MENU— Earlier mentioned, El Tecolote owner Ben Guardado. At proper, a generous portion of Monterey chicken enchiladas: grilled rooster with tomatillo sauce, garnished with guacamole and bitter cream with sides of rice and refried beans. Shots by ELA LINDSAY Acorn Newspapers

The spouse and children-owned-and-operated El Tecolote restaurant in Camarillo can take its identify from a Spanish term for owl, and it’s a extremely intelligent institution indeed. For much more than 70 decades it has thrived in the space, supported by multi-generational households who even helped it survive the pandemic.

Though the institution has altered arms numerous moments since its unique owner, Mike Loza, to start with dreamed of opening an genuine Mexican restaurant in Ventura County, it’s been owned by Ben Guardado and his daughter, manager Cindy Guardado, given that 2007.

When father and daughter took around El Tecolote, they decided to stick with Loza’s attempted-and-true recipe for accomplishment: a “generous supporting of great foods, good service, and good price ranges.”

Ben Guardado reported it wasn’t easy to get by way of the pandemic, but inspite of the cafe currently being shut for 2½ months, space people served maintain El Tecolote’s doorways open the rest of the time.

“We even received folks from all over coming—from Simi Valley, Oxnard, and Ventura, particularly on weekends,” he explained.



The restaurant also received financial assistance from the point out, county, and town, as well as Guardado set up a small fence outside, building a patio region total with plants and umbrellas, letting diners to take in outside the house all through the pandemic.

“We’re nonetheless here,” he claimed. “And glad to staying again very nicely to ordinary yet again.”

The landmark restaurant can be noticed on Lewis Street with its signature owl indication pointing to the constructing. It looks really inviting from the exterior, and the massive inside beckons families to fill its quite a few booths and tables.

It is surely the meals that retains bringing buyers again. With the exception of some tweaks and additions, not considerably has adjusted from the unique owner’s menu, Guardado reported.

There is no point in messing with a little something fantastic, like the delicious, thick, and crunchy tortilla chips that are introduced to each individual table with a aspect of salsa. I have been to numerous Mexican dining places and these had been some of the very best chips I’ve at any time experienced. I couldn’t halt feeding on them, and a facet of creamy but chunky guacamole held me full and contented.

As it is my task to style, that is particularly what I did when Guardado brought a lineup of tasty dishes for me to sample.

Every single 1 of them was tasty: the carne asada plate, packed large with refried beans, rice and slim pieces of delightful grilled beef with a mound of fried onions a crown-dimensions tostada salad with oodles of hen and, 1 of my favorites, Monterey chicken enchiladas—lightly grilled, tender hen built with tomatillo sauce, garnished with guacamole and bitter product, and served with rice, beans, and a corn or flour tortilla.

No matter what Mexican dish you crave, you are absolutely sure to find it at El Tecolote. It’s the excellent area to bring the family and to have any accumulating mainly because there’s one thing on the menu for absolutely everyone, even the vegetarians in the team. The portions are very generous, so be well prepared to consider house a doggie bag.

Guardado is the supreme host since he is familiar with what it signifies to get the job done tough to attain his goals. He arrived in the U.S. when he was 17. His to start with position was as a dishwasher. From there he worked his way up, teaching in all aspects of the cafe enterprise till eventually proudly owning a person of his possess.

El Tecolote’s several hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day at 333 N. Lewis Street, Camarillo. For far more information, connect with (805) 482-4318.