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Interview with Joey Duran Owner, El Tepeyac Cafe & Tequila Sports Bar

El Tepeyac

A bit of history about Manuel’s Original El Tepeyac Café. Founded in 1942 by the Rojas family; originally called El Tupinamba Café, located in downtown LA; which then moved to Lincoln Heights, there known as La Villa Café. In 1952 the family made its final move to Boyle Heights, where it would be known as El Tepeyac Café, now the home of the ever famous “Manuel Special” – – the FIVE POUND BURRITO! After the untimely death of his father, Salvador Rojas, Manuel stepped in and along with his mother Rebecca, took the restaurant and built it to become the neighborhood restaurant of Los Angeles and for all who come. Manuel has been involved over the years with several organizations such as the local Optimist Club, Rotary Club and has generously contributed to most local community and school events.

2009 was a banner year for Manuel and El Tepeyac. Being featured nationally on the Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food” has brought in new customers from all over the country to try and eat the Manuel’s Special Burrito – many have tried but few have succeeded. Currently, the honor of being named #23 of the Travel Channel’s 101 Best Chowdowns in America has brought renewed national attention. Many websites such as,,, and others have rated Manuel’s with 4 stars. In the Spring of 2009, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaragoza who was raised in the Boyle Heights area and attended Roosevelt High School, made El Tepeyac Café the last stop on his campaign tour for reelection which was televised locally as the last impression to the voters before his reelection.

Now 77 years old and at a time where many would be retired, Manuel starts up the kitchen at 3AM, 7 days a week and sticks around for breakfast through lunch doing what he loves best, welcomes everyone with a kiss for the ladies and a hug for the men. His appreciation and adoration for his friends and customers continues through 4 generations. There have been many imitators but, there is only one Manuel’s Original El Tepeyac. Future expansion is being discussed and wherever it may be, Manuel will be there to assist in carrying on the tradition that has become an icon to the City of Los Angeles.

El Tepeyac Cafe 2

Address: 812 N. Evergreen Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90033

Phone Number: (323) 268-1960

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