Luchador/Chef Wrestles Through Virus Shutdown

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

May 9, 2020

Gonzalo Garcia a former professional wrestler in Mexico City takes a break from fixing a breakfast burrito for a quick photograph. His restaurant, Tacos el Viejon, 2780 Main St., Morro Bay, is open for takeout during the virus shutdown.

He spent 26 years wrestling before crowds of thousands in Mexico City and now he’s wrestling with keeping his family-owned restaurant open in the face of the coronavirus shelter-at-home shutdown.

Gonzalo Garcia, a former professional wrestler in the Lucha Libre circuit of Mexico City is owner along with his wife Carla and Maria Gonzales, of Tacos El Viejon, 2780 Main St., in North Morro Bay.

The restaurant celebrated 1-year in business in February when just weeks later the coronavirus pandemic response issued by the State, County and City put into place shelter-at-home orders and closed all non-essential businesses.

That included most of the nearly 50 Morro Bay restaurants, El Viejon included.

Garcia, who traded in his green, red and white wrestling mask for a chef’s attire, wants to offer a special deal to customers who come to the restaurant for a takeout meal from what is truly a mom & pop operation with “¡Los mejores tacos del mundo!” — “The best tacos in the world!”

An honest to goodness “luchador” (wrestler), Garcia performed for some 26 years, he told Estero Bay News, and was a professional in Mexico City for 5 years. Like luchadores of the past, Garcia is a celebrity in Mexico City where the athletic performers are idolized in a sport that goes back over 100 years. Such celebrities retain some anonymity and thus more privacy in public without the masks. But don the covering, and they are immediately recognized.

The inside wall of Tacos el Viejon (Spanish for “the Old Man”) sports numerous photos of Garcia in his heyday in the ring, posing with various Mexican celebrities and including a couple of framed promotional posters of bouts.

The restaurant serves a Tex-Mex menu of tacos, nachos, quesadillas, burritos and tortas, including several dishes with seafood — shrimp and fish. A liquor license notice on the front door signals that they will soon have beer and wine for sale, too.

Tacos el Viejon open at 8 a.m. daily to 9 p.m. for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Call in an order at (805) 225-1559. See: for a menu and further information.

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