The margaritas will soon stop flowing at Barragan’s and El Conquistador as the two Mexican restaurants prepare to close their respective Echo Park and Silver Lake locations later this month after decades of serving up drinks and platters of Mexican-American favorites. But the restaurants are not going quietly. Barragan’s, which opened more than 50 years ago on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park, is planning a going away celebration on Friday, Dec. 13, it’s last day in operation. Meanwhile, about a mile west on Sunset in Silver Lake, residents have organized a public ceremony to celebrate El Conquistador’s 40 years in business. “It will be a celebration and a funeral, both happy and sad,” said Vincent Brooks, who organized a Community Farewell Commemoration for El Conquistador on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. at Polka Dot Plaza outside the Silver Lake restaurant.
Brooks and his wife have been patronizing El Conquistador for 35 years, with the couple dining at the restaurant virtually every week. “It struck us particularly hard,” said Brooks of the closure, which was announced in July in the wake of new landlords and a stiff rent increase. “We had a special relationship with the place.” Brooks, in an email to residents, explained what made El Conquistador so special:
The occasion of course will be bittersweet, as El Conq (as the place is fondly known), which closes its doors for good on Dec. 22 after 40 years, has become a Silver Lake institution. It earned this distinction not only from its great food and the best Margaritas in town, but also from the festive atmosphere and joyous spirit created by its owners, Jesse Pinto and Alberto Curiel, and its loyal personnel, many of whom have been there for decades.
Brooks said the restaurant is scheduled to close Dec. 22
In Echo Park, Barragan’s will be holding a day-long farewell part on its last day – Friday, Dec. 13 – with a mariachis and a DJ. Owner Armando Barragan announced the closure of the restaurant in October after agreeing to sell the property; his family’s restaurants in Burbank and Glendale will remain open.