Enjoy Generations of Flavor From a Local Favorite

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Family-owned Mexican restaurant serves authentic cuisine for over 35 years

Taste of the Town: El Tapatio
By Angie Helvey, Contributing Writer | Photos by Malaina Kinne

An entree from El Tapatio in Oak Grove

Family-owned and operated since 1985, El Tapatio is a gem hidden in plain sight, nestled snugly in a strip mall on McLoughlin Boulevard and proudly plating up traditional Mexican cuisine straight from the streets of Jalisco, paired with scratch-made margaritas and friendly faces.

The Oak Grove location of El Tapatio was the first for owners Efren Guitron-Mora and Rosalina Galvan-Ramos, but they now own several locations in Oregon and Washington and even have a presence in Idaho, California, Nebraska, and New Hampshire. “I don’t think my parents ever imagined it would grow so much,” says son and assistant manager Antonio Guitron. Antonio’s brothers Ivan and Jesse Guitron and many other family members also work in the restaurants.

The authentic recipes come from the Guitrons’ hometown in Mexico and the experience they gained working in Mexican restaurants after immigrating to the United States. “My parents worked for the original owners when they first moved here, and my dad was the chef, so he took many of those recipes and made them his own, more traditional, and added flavor profiles from back home,” Antonio explains.

Ordering a combination plate is a great way to get a taste of all your favorites with a delicious selection of tacos, burritos, enchiladas, chile relleno, tamales, and tostadas, but if you’re looking for a genuinely traditional Mexican meal, try the Big Boy Platters or one of the tasty house specials like Carne Asada or Pollo en Mole. “The platters are bigger portions, and some include steak, grilled chicken, and shrimp,” Antonio says. “These especially are exactly what you’d get down in Jalisco.”

The fajitas are always a customer favorite because there’s no better excitement than to hear sizzling from the kitchen and know it’s on the way to your table! A kid’s menu is also available for the little ones. Select a housemade dessert, like the ever-popular fried ice cream, to end your meal on a sweet note. “Our flan is a great choice, too,” says Antonio, “and we’ve got some hidden gems on there like the apple chimichanga, or Xango, which is deep-fried cheesecake topped with strawberry, chocolate, or caramel and whipped cream.”

Nothing pairs with a hot plate of Mexican food like an icy margarita. “The classic House Margarita is my father’s original recipe,” Antonio shares. “People also love the Cadillac Margarita or one of our fruit flavors like peach, banana, kiwi, or coconut. We have a nice choice of tequila, so we can add different flavors and tequilas and blend something really delicious.”

The menu includes other traditional cocktails like micheladas, cazuelas, and alomas, and many of the drink recipes were hand-crafted by Antonio’s brother at the Oak Grove location before earning a permanent spot on the menu. Cocktails, Mexican beer, and wine are available throughout the restaurant, but if you’re looking for a more adult atmosphere, hang out in the relaxing bar area and enjoy big-screen TVs and video poker.

The Guitron family is grateful for their customers and proud to be long-time members of the Oak Grove and Milwaukie communities. “We love our regular customers, and we cater to families here; they’re our number one,” says Antonio. “We’ve been blessed to see multiple generations come through our doors. People have been coming in since they were young, and now they’re bringing their kids.”

Running the restaurant has brought countless challenges over the years, but El Tapatio has always appreciated the support of locals. “Our customers have been with us through good times and bad. They’ve watched this little restaurant rise, and we know we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them. We try to give back to the community however we can, including donating to local schools and churches,” Antonio says.

Visit El Tapatio and enjoy an authentic Mexican meal with flavorful dishes and hand-crafted cocktails in this inviting restaurant that’s been serving the community for over 35 years. Order online for pick-up through Din-Din or delivery through Ubereats, Grubhub, or Doordash.

El Tapatio is located at 15192 SE McLoughlin Blvd in Oak Grove. Please give them a call at 503-659-8654, or visit their website at www.eltapatiomcloughlin.com.