Last Saturday Jeri and I drove over to El Tepeyac, an east L.A. institution,otherwise known as Manuels. It's on Evergreen Street just north of Chavez Ave (formerly Brooklyn Ave), in Boyle Heights. There is always a line in front, especially at peak hours but the wait is worth it. East Los Angeles has changed over the years but it's still old East L.A. at Tepeyac. The owner, Manuel Rojas is a big part of the restaurant's success. He's a small man with a big personality. He opened the restaurant in the mid 50's. The place is known for it's burritos. The king of burritos here and anywhere else for that matter, is the Manuel's special. You will need pallbearers to carry it to the table and a pitchfork and shovel to eat it. The "smaller" burrito, the Hollenbeck, is still bigger than most other places. This is what I had on Saturday. Jeri had the chicken enchiladas.
El Tepeyac is very communal and informal and you will find yourself talking with someone sitting in next table. You will also find all kinds of people here, people from outside of east L.A, and sometime from out of state. El Tepeyac has been featured on several television shows, especially those showcasing large portions.
I started eating at El Tepeyac back in the early70’s when I was in high school. My buddies and I would go there after partying on the weekend. I don’t remember what the hours were or what time they closed but it seemed they were always opened, no matter what time we went. I once ate one and a half Manuel's Special. I was seventeen and in my eating prime. I found out later that Manuel started paying $500.00 to anyone that could finish a Manuel's Special. I never tried it again and I wouldn’t do it now. Another item that was on the menu but I’m not sure they still serve, was a Torta de Guacamole. It was called a Torta but it was pretty much a burrito stuffed with guacamole. It’s been so many years that I can’t remember what else was in it. I’m going to look for it next time I go. Speaking of guacamole, El Tepeyac does a great job with theirs.