At El Compadre, individuals, couples, and groups become instant family. Founders David Castro and Mario Jimenez, wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, El Compadre means “head of the family” or Godfather, and its concept deliberately coincides with the fact that David and Mario are the Godfathers of each other’s children. Together from the beginning, the two have used their family’s bond to create a dynasty of one of LA’s most sought after authentic Mexican restaurants, for over 45 years.
They say, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Well if that’s true, time must have flown twice as fast for El Compadre founders David Castro and Mario Jimenez, who founded the authentic Mexican Restaurant way back in 1975.
Their Hollywood, California location on Sunset Blvd is their first of three. Upon entering down a short ramp, you’ll do good to pause until your eyes adjust to the dim light. When you do, you’ll find yourself in a fairly large space, led by friendly hosts who will escort you and your party past hand painted walls, arts and crafts, and hand carved woods to your comfy booth or heavy wooden table seating. Wrought iron chandeliers cascade down from the rustic tiled roof work well together bringing the charm of an upscale old-world hacienda. A world you can totally escape to, with a generous meal, nightly music from a talented trio singing traditional Mexican classics, and their infamous Flaming Margaritas.
As you would expect, the Hollywood location on Sunset Blvd built up a hefty fan base over the years consisting of celebrities and regular people. Just about anyone who visits becomes and instant fan with the need to eventually share the rare find with a friend or family member. It’s the kind of place that is easy to recommend because you know, without a doubt, your guests will be impressed, and you’ll look good for suggesting it.
The Fun Never Ends
Just over 6 miles down the same Sunset Blvd, in Echo Park, is El Compadre’s second location that mirrors the unmatched ambiance of the first. Yet, for the newer Downtown location, opened in 2014, El Compadre decided to go with a more updated feel, providing Angelinos with an atmosphere deliberately set to match Downtown’s ever-growing need for fun times, quality meals at affordable prices and casual dinning.
Two things you’ll notice right away at Downtown El Compadre, is just how much people seem to be enjoying the place while eating or while drinking at the bar. The main room of Downtown El Compadre is well lit, with natural light coming from the west window allowing everyone to see each other’s plates and happy faces. Plates are generous in size and made fresh to order.
Combination plates like El Padrino with its thinly sliced grilled steak; beef taco, cheese enchilada, and guacamole are served with rice and beans. Never store bought salsas, or bagged chips, everything is prepared fresh, with recipes prepared from the authentic Mexican family traditions of Michoacán.
A FAMILY REUNION
El Compadre is home of the RAMS and USC Trojans, yet they are devoted to showing games from every league and prize fights as well. There are also the usual promotional giveaways, sometimes in the form of free beverages, passed out by two or three lovely maidens, who share a similar fashion sense as the girls from Hooters, next store.
The bar is decorated with usual bar decorations and promo materials, and bottled liquor line up, etc., but it’s still a bit different when it comes to just how casual bar participants are with each other. There is far less stiffness and more of a determination that everyone meet, get to know each other and find something to converse about, then there is the need to outclass or pass judgment.
For families or large parties who require a more intimate setting, El Compadre offers a separate seating area towards the rear of the restaurant. It’s here where they host special events, like Paint Night, Karaoke Tuesdays and special guests Djs. If you happen to visit El Compadre on any of these occasions, prepare yourself for a roar of a good time.
Downtown El Compadre may not always offer a nightly talented trio but it does offer their infamous Flaming Margarita, and 60 instant family members in the form of staff led by Robert, Sheldon, Michael, Andy and Tessa. When it’s your birthday, expect for everyone to come together and sing the Happy Birthday Song, just after placing a sombrero on top of your head and a delicious flan at fork’s reach.
FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
The future of El Compadre in Downtown looks and taste amazing, with a well-planned expansion of events beginning with Legends of the Hip Hop Era, coming October 1st. The event will offer food; festivities and a live concert featuring some of HipHop’s most well-known hitmakers. BUY TICKETS www.legendsofthegoldenera.eventbrite.com
Located at 1248 S. Figueroa #101, LA CA 90015. (213) 749-0025.