Salvador Avila – the founder of Avila’s El Ranchito Restaurants and a longtime resident of Newport Beach – passed away on July 28 from natural causes at age 99.
Avila’s El Ranchito Restaurants have been a culinary mainstay in southern California for over 50 years. The restaurants were founded in 1966 by Salvador Avila and his wife, Margarita, who immigrated from Mexico with their children in the late 1950s.
Their initial restaurant endeavor in Huntington Park grew into a gastronomic dynasty of 13 locations, including one in Newport Beach on the Balboa Peninsula (the first Avila’s El Ranchito in Orange County and opened in 1975) and another in Corona del Mar.
According to information from the Avila family, in a life spanning almost 100 years, Salvador Avila accomplished many achievements in his lifetime. Like so many immigrant entrepreneurs, he believed in the American dream, and he was determined to find a way to create a meaningful future for his family.
Salvador was a family man with an entrepreneurial spirit and a strong work ethic that influenced three generations of Avila family members, who continue to own and operate the 13 restaurants.
His passion and determination was to provide for his wife, Margarita, and his six children, with unity being the foundation of the Avila family. Whether it was working two jobs or helping family members open their own restaurant, his children were always a priority.
Each day he instilled the importance of loving and supporting one another. His wise counsel developed strong men and women in his family who remain united to this day.
Salvador was a man of perseverance. No challenge was too big or too small. At the age of 50, he made a drastic lifestyle change and took up running. He entered his first marathon at 75, and continued to run the Los Angeles marathon each year until he was 81. His wife, children, and grandchildren were his greatest inspiration.
Salvador was proud of his Mexican heritage and wanted his children to value it as well and never forget where they came from. His legacy will be carried on from generation to generation.
Salvador is preceded in death by his wife, Margarita, and his son, Jose Luis. He is survived by daughters Maria Elena and Margarita, and sons Salvador Avila Jr., Victor, and Sergio. He has 14 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.
Memorial services will be private.