This LA Mexican Restaurant Is More Than It's Dark Historical Connection

Mexican food is easily one of the most popular cuisines in California. According to restaurant data analysts CHD Experts, there were around 65,000 Mexican restaurants in the United States as of 2020. California tied Texas for the most Mexican restaurants with 18% of Mexican restaurants — including one of the oldest Mexican restaurants in the country — located in the Golden state. 

California also lays claim to El Coyote, a Mexican restaurant with a dark historical connection. Located in Los Angeles, El Coyote might not have been in the zeitgeist until it was featured in Quentin Tarantino's 2019 film "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." The film, which is a twisted history story based on the Manson murders (with an alternative ending), featured the historic restaurant and was even filmed there per LA Magazine.

While it's true that in real life Sharon Tate and her friends had their last meal at El Coyote in 1969 — you can even still sit at the "Sharon Tate booth" – the restaurant itself is a historic Los Angeles staple that is so much more than that one dark detail.

Beloved for more than 90 years

Per Los Angeles Beat, El Coyote is one of the oldest surviving Mexican restaurants in Los Angeles, and the restaurant's menu includes favorites like enchiladas, tacos, burritos, and their "World Famous" margaritas. The restaurant's website explains that El Coyote was opened in 1931 by Blanche and George March and it started as a tiny café down on La Brea Avenue. The Marches came from Arizona during the depression, per OC Register and even though the country was in a difficult place, they figured people still had to eat.

The restaurant was very popular right off the bat and eventually opened a larger location in the Fairfax district in 1951, per CBS News. The current Beverly Boulevard location has all of its original mid-century features like bottled glass windows, burgundy leather booths, as well as vintage light fixtures (via Los Angeles Beat). The celebrity photographs lining the walls (via the El Coyote website) include John Wayne, Loretta Young, and Ricardo Montalban. The restaurant boasts that a young Drew Barrymore even spent time playing in the restaurant while family members dined there. The restaurant has even reached royalty. Grace Kelly, princess of Monaco once arrived unannounced to try the cuisine.

El Coyote has been a Los Angeles staple for years; the food and history landing the restaurant spots on lists of L.A.'s best Mexican restaurants and most legendary eateries, proving that what keeps people coming back to El Coyote is more than just morbid curiosity.