Home Business It’s “Adios” For Lafayette’s El Charro Restaurant; Community Tears Provide Salt...

It’s “Adios” For Lafayette’s El Charro Restaurant; Community Tears Provide Salt For Margaritas

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Back in The Day, back when we gathered, Lafayette’s El Charro Restaurant was the place to go for a Game Night enchilada plate or – for the adult and untethered – a Margarita guaranteed to instill enough liquid courage to initiate a conversation with the girl or guy at the end of the bar.

News that the landmark venue known to some as “The Hat and the Mat” for the oversized sombrero and serape adorning its adobe-like walls was finally giving it up after all these intervening years – since 1947 to be precise – came hard for some.

Owners Dave and Laura Shields confirmed their closing Tuesday – in a Facebook post.

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce El Charro Mexican Dining, a Lafayette community staple of 70+ years, will be permanently closed beginning this Friday, January 1st, 2021,” the proprietors posted.

If the owners are saddened the legions of fans the restaurant acquired over the years were downright inconsolable.

“Birthdays. Dates. Weddings. Date Nights. Football games. Reunions,” former Pleasant Hill resident Ray Scheider intoned. “What’s next, the dang Golden Gate Bridge?”

From what we’ve been able to gather so far Ray is not alone in his sentiments, with several locals planning last, loving forays to the restaurant before it closes for good.

El Charro was well regarded among locals for its generous tacos and burritos as well as its garlic blue cheese dip and blended margaritas. It had reopened for take-out meals when COVID-19 arrived and had been using the patio for outdoor dinning over the difficult summer, but talk that the sale of the building was in the offing proved true, and the financial crunch brought on by a drop in business proved to be too much to overcome.

It’s going to be nigh unto impossible to get down there for a Fare Thee Well Margie, so we’ll just offer up a favorite toast of ours to hold us over:

Salud, amor, y dinero. ¡Y tiempo para gastarlo!”


    • Agreed. New housing units are a superior use of that parcel. Lafayette’s supply of commercial property — especially restaurants and retail — has long eclipsed demand, leading to pockets of blight along Mt Diablo Boulevard. Conversely, ridged zoning policies, political fanaticism, and litigious neighbors have thwarted the market supply function, thus discouraging developers from building sufficient new supply to absorb robust demand. The result is a bizarre dynamic of rising prices despite blighted commercial corridors and increasingly decrepit legacy multi family housing stock.

      We pay more for a lower quality good, thanks to excessive local government meddling in the real estate market.

  1. Had my first date in there. It didn’t go very well. Third date went better. Those margaritas really did work

  2. Here is my partial list of local Covid closings:

    El Charro
    Scott’s Seafood
    Denica’s (1-2 locations)
    Regal Cinemas

  3. As the father, I was taken captive. Never liked the food, but my family loved it!!…like so many of you with fond memories born of the place. Sometimes you just gotta shut up and smile because everyone else is having a good time. I go away now.

  4. Too bad our experience of screaming, loud and unruly 3-6 years olds at the big table. Kids uninhibited by any adult supervision ruled the table’s conversations. If you can call screaming and shouting to be heard over other kids a conversation.
    Happened many years ago, we never considered going back.

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