Salvador Avila, the founder of Southern California El Ranchito Restaurant Chain and immigrant entrepreneur, who began life in the United States as a construction worker before running the successful chain, has died at the age of 99, his family said in a statement.
Avila died of natural causes on July 28, 2022 at his home in Corona del Mar, the family said.
Avila and his family started the first restaurant, El Ranchito, in Huntington Park before the popular spot grew into a chain with 13 locations, including 12 in Orange County.
In 1966, after spending eight years in the United States, sometimes working two jobs, including as a construction worker, he founded what would later become a family empire in Southern California.
“Like so many immigrant entrepreneurs, Salvador Avila believed in the American Dream and he was determined to find a way to create a meaningful future for his family,” the family said in a statement.
Avila opened the restaurant with just $2,000 and “Mamá Avila’s delicious family recipes from Guanajuato, Mexico.”
The following locations were all family-run, with three generations from Avilas, who runs the 13 restaurants.
Even after his success with the restaurant, Avila continued to yearn for more out of life. He started running at the age of 50. He ran his first LA marathon when he turned 75 and ran every one until he turned 81.
“His wise counsel was often expressed in parables. His meaningful life lessons made his children, family and friends reflect on their lives and hearts. it said in the statement.
The matriarch of the family and Salvador’s wife, Margaret AvilaHe died in 2019 at the age of 93.
He leaves behind his six children – six children: José Luis, Salvador, Victor, Sergio, María Elena and Margarita – 14 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.