Recently, the Encinitas El Torito restaurant closed its doors. The restaurant at 1068 North El Camino Real removed the exterior signs and logos on September 15. A sign was posted apologizing for the inconvenience and referring customers to the Oceanside location. The closure follows last month's shuttering of the chain's La Jolla location.
Three restaurants in the same center, at the corner of El Camino Real and Leucadia Boulevard, were packed around lunchtime on September 23. An employee of K.C.'s Tandor said they had been extremely busy since El Torito closed. A line was out the door at the New Jersey Mike's Sub Shop. Several people arrived at the shuttered El Torito and stood in bewilderment that it was closed.
The former general manager of the La Jolla location, now serving at another area El Torito, said the landlords for both restaurants wanted to raise the leases. “We just couldn't do that in this economy,” he stated.
The Encinitas El Torito splashed into town in 2006, opening in a long-vacant corner of the Target shopping center, just before Christmas. The restaurant surprised the city with a flamboyant entry in the Christmas parade down Hwy. 101, an event in which most corporate-type businesses do not participate in. The general manager at the time said they threw the lively entry together — traditional folkloric dancers and lots of mariachi musicians — so that everyone in town would know El Torito had arrived.