Press articles about Cielito Lindo

The 101 Best Restaurants Hall of Fame: Modern classics that are essential to dining in L.A.

We visited Susanna MacManus, co-owner of Cielito Lindo, and granddaughter of Aurora Guerrero, the founder and inventor of the taquito. Located on Olvera Street in Los Angeles, Guerrero's daughter used her taquito recipe to open a chain of restaurants in Los Angeles. This family owned business has been carried on by each new generation of Guerrero women. The taquitos, shredded beef rolled in a corn tortilla and fried are made fresh to order, then served drenched in a secret family recipe avocado sauce.

"I always love to go to Olvera Street; there’s a place down there called Cielito Lindo, and they have the best taquitos in the world. We get over to Chinatown once in a while, because I was raised over there in that area. My dad was a beat cop, and his beat was Chinatown and Little Tokyo."

Since the 1930s, this tiny stand — located in the heart of historic L.A. — has been famous for its rolled, fried taquitos, covered in avocado sauce. Arellano thinks of the food stand as a Plymouth Rock of tacos, one place where the Mexican staple met a broader American audience.
The Reconquista of the American Plate
East L.A.'s Cielito Lindo single-handedly set off America’s taco craze when they opened their stall in 1934 and started serving beef taquitos in avocado sauce.

Yellow cheese is ubiquitous, as it is with other Mexican-American cuisines since regional Mexican cheeses weren’t available until recently. But the orange globs of industrial cheese product covering our plates will remain. Why, you ask? Because it tastes fucking awesome.

"1934 marked the year that Cielito Lindo first landed in Los Angeles, doing rolled tacos that were all the rage. The tradition continues today, as the restaurant helps anchor the bustling Olvera Street in Downtown's northern edge."

"Follow the smell of taquitos muy auténticos at this LA institution on historic Olvera Street. The tiny stand has been serving freshly stuffed, rolled and fried taquitos since 1934, enough to earn its street cred title of "world famous. The thing to order is obviously taquitos, though there are also burritos and chile relleno, which come smothered in guacamole sauce and optional beans and cheese."

"On L.A.’s first street—Olvera St.—in the heart of El Pueblo de Los Angeles, is where one of L.A.’s ultimate obsessions began. That is the tale of the taco, or in this case, the taquito, or little taco. Author of Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, Gustavo Arelleno wrote that Cielito Lindo’s founder, Aurora Guerrero, and her daughter Ana Natalia (who also opened Las Anitas in the same plaza) brought their taquitos to Olvera St. and spread their tasty recipe throughout Los Angeles and, says Arelleno, “the modern-day taco took its infant steps towards supremacy.”

The tiny taquito stand endures on Downtown L.A.’s Olvera Street after 86 years, having weathered endless shifts in the downtown landscape, nationwide economy and attitudes towards both immigrants and women who own businesses. Behind this legacy are three sisters: Diana and Mariana Robertson and Susanna MacManus, who took over the small stand that was started by their mother, Natalia, and grandmother, Aurora Guerrero, in 1934.

Mexican American food conquered America with its popular flavors of fresh and dried chiles stewed into hearty dishes thickened by tomatoes or tomatillos, seasoned with simple spices, and served with corn or flour tortillas. Obscured by melted cheese and fortified with beans and rice, the cuisine’s tacos, tamales, enchiladas, chiles rellenos, and other standards are universal objects of joy. Especially tacos.

"The Cielito Lindo taquito itself is almost chewy. The meat is sinewy and subtly seasoned. The sauce is tangy, and so thin that it's hard to believe it came from an avocado. It coats the slender golden-brown taquitos like hot green candle wax on a supermodel's fingers. You can't eat just two; I prefer them the way Mar-kes used to dish 'em up: by the half-dozen."

"Absolutely the best tasting taquitos in the land!! My family has been going to Cielito Lindo since early 1940's although this little taco stand started in 1934 on the corner in Olvera Street.

My mom's family went here, my mom when she was a kid, my family and now my kids and grandkids go and we make it an event. Since we have lived in LA all our lives it has been easy to come here and we buy the taquitos by the dozens."

"Taquitos have such an interesting connected to Olvera Street, where the restaurant was founded. The original owner of Cielito Lindo was Aurora Guerrero, a single mother of five children who was able to start her business with the help of a woman named Christine Sterling. Mrs. Sterling's only requirement was that Aurora had to create something "different" to sell and that's when the taquito was born! When you go to Cielito Lindo, be sure to try the original recipe with the guacamole sauce - unbelievably delicious!."

Olvera Street's 3 Greenest Taquitos: Just how different can taquitos really be? Turns out there's a lot more going on with these Mexican delicacies than their "tiny taco" name would suggest. So how do three Olvera Street favorites stack up.

"In a little shack located at the end of Olvera street just a few blocks away from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles one can find some of the crispiest, most sumptuous Taquitos around. Located in a ramshackle structure at the end of a vibrant and bustling street market, the Cielito Lindo has been feeding Los Angelinos since 1938. Despite offering only a limited menu of taquitos, tamales, chile rellenos, and burritos and being surrounded by numerous other Mexican restaurants, there are always people waiting in line."
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