Newest Taqueria El Lugar Coming To Downtown Tyler
By CASEY MURPHY
Sonia Ordorica hadn't planned to open another restaurant in Tyler.
Her family already owned and operated three Taqueria El Lugars in town. But when an opportunity came to start another restaurant in downtown, she couldn't resist.
For the past couple of months, Ms. Ordorica and her husband, Javier Ramos, have been working to get the restaurant ready after taking over the building that formerly housed Mango Express, at 111 W. Ferguson St.
"It needed a lot of work in here," she said while taking a break from hanging pictures on the walls Wednesday. She plans to open Tuesday.
"I've had a lot of people say we're going to do good here," she said. "We have a good reputation. Everybody knows Taqueria El Lugar."
Ms. Ordorica's parents, Vicente and Maria Ordorica, opened their first Taqueria El Lugar in Tyler at 1716 E. Gentry Parkway in 1991. Ms. Ordorica runs the El Lugar at 3320 Troup Highway, next to Electric Cowboy, and her brother, Oscar Ordorica, operates the restaurant at 2121 E. Fifth St.
Ms. Ordorica's family moved to Tyler from Jalpa Zacatecas, Mexico when she was 1. Working in the family business was fun, Ms. Ordorica said, but growing up with five brothers was hard. From her mother she learned how to get back on her feet, she added.
Ms. Ordorica, 38, started helping out her parents in their first restaurant when she was 21, working the cash register, taking and making orders and doing a little bit of everything, she said. Her brothers also help in the business.
Taqueria El Lugar started out small, but "it's grown a lot," she said.
It seems wherever Ms. Ordorica goes, she's asked, "Where's my No. 7?" She laughs and tells them it is back at the shop.
Taqueria El Lugar is best known around town for its No. 7 -- the super quesadilla, which sells for $4.60, she said. They also serve tacos and have expanded the menu to include fajitas, enchiladas, burritos and flautas.
When asked whether the family had a special seasoning they use, Ms. Ordorica said they give the food a "good loving tenderizing."
Ms. Ordorica was eating at Mango Express a few months ago when the owners told her they were closing Feb. 29 and asked her if she wanted to open a restaurant there. She discussed it with her husband, she said.
"This was not planned on," she said. "By the grace of God we're here."
Ms. Ordorica will spend most of her time at the new restaurant, while her son, Manuel Gandarilla, 22, will run the Troup Highway location. Her 19-year-old daughter, Vivianna Gandarilla, also helps with the family business. Ms. Ordorica has six children.
Ms. Ordorica said her husband has been helping her get the new restaurant ready. "Now it's going to be time to teach him how to flip the tortillas," she said.
She will have five employees at the downtown restaurant.
"I do a little bit of everything ... I like to keep myself busy," she said.
Ms. Ordorica said she always welcomes her customers with a happy face.
"I'm a happy camper," she said. "I like to be happy. You leave your problems behind and focus on your job."
Taqueria El Lugar, 111 W. Ferguson St., will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. She said how late it stays open could change; she will see how it goes.