Keeping it in the Family

Photo credit to The Gazette

While there are many unique aspects about the restaurant El Taco Rey including the Avocado Pork Burrito smothered in green chili or the tres leches, the most special is the story behind the owners and their journey to 330 East Colorado Avenue.  Rosemary was born and raised in Gardner, Colorado with a population now of 295 people. She lived in a two-bedroom, one bathroom house with five siblings and her parents. Growing up in Gardner, my grandma told me she would walk in flats for two miles. Sometimes it would be in the snow to get to the school bus in the mornings. She grew up really poor but very happy. My grandma told me many stories that when she was growing up in school, she was embarrassed to eat her lunch because she would bring tortillas, beans and chicos while others had sandwiches. In school Rosemary was told not to speak Spanish even though that was all she knew. She loved to cook and create food. Her love for food would one day come back, feeding all the community.

Edmenuio (Eddie) Aguilar was born September 3rd 1940 in sparsely populated San Luis Valley. He grew up with three brothers and two sisters. His education ended after the third grade. When he was 16, he left the Valley and hitched-hiked his way to Colorado Springs, with no reason to leave his home but a desire to see the world. He got a job at the Brazilian grill in down town Colorado Springs. There, he met Rosemary. Eddie worked as a bus boy, serving food and helping out. And Rosemary worked at the salad bar creating salads and making sandwiches. They only dated for two months and got married in 1961 at 20 years old. Fifteen years later they would open up El Taco Rey with their six kids. El Taco Rey has been opened for 45 years with Eddie and Rosemary’s six kids running the family business.

When interviewing Mike, a costumer who has come every Thursday for the last 20 years “What makes you keep coming back?”, he responds, “ Their food is just like no other. You can go search this whole town and there is nothing like this homemade food. I would rather spend my money on good homemade food like this than McDonald’s. I love this little mom and pop restaurant; they are so welcoming and they are like no other business that I’ve been to. I love their food, I love their attitude, and I love how they are just so real. Their Avocado Pork Burritos Smothered in Green Chile. It is my favorite; I have been eating this food every week. It’s the best and it’s worth my time and money. I can understand why they have so many awards. This place is the best.”

Awards or not, the El Taco Rey family restaurant will continue to keep the legacy of the Aguilar’s for many future generations to come.  The life, food, and story of the Aguilar family will live on forever.