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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.

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Ponzi Sept. 27, 2011 @ 10:36 p.m.

More will follow... and many other restaurants,,,

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Visduh Sept. 28, 2011 @ 9:49 p.m.

If El Torito could not make it in that location, very high traffic and affluent, where can it make a go of it? Maybe that's just another restaurant chain with a concept that no longer packs them in. It has been around for forty years or more. But for a long time was a spot that women seemed to favor.

With all the vacant retail and restaurant space that now exists, it is really hard to believe that landlords are demanding rent boosts. I'd think they would be overjoyed to keep tenants, and would even reduce rents to keep the tenants viable. Pat and Oscar's has gone BK, and its franchise restaurants are on shaky ground. I wondered how they could keep their prices as reasonable as they were; now it appears they were losing money doing it in many of their locations.

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David Dodd Sept. 29, 2011 @ 12:01 a.m.

"..the landlords for both restaurants wanted to raise the leases."

Sort of explains it. They must have a long line of potential tenants in order to try and raise lease prices in this economy.

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Ponzi Dec. 11, 2011 @ 2:10 p.m.

The El Torito on Camino Del Rio South in Mission Valley closed recently. So how many "Little Bulls" are left in San Diego?

This is what's left:

La Mesa - 5024 Baltimore Drive National City - 3030 Plaza Bonita Rd Oceanside - 2693 Vista Way San Diego - 8223 Mira Mesa Blvd.

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