Roanoke, va
El Rodeo Times
El Rodeo Mexican restaurant now open

Vol, 1, No,1

Tuesday, October 21, 1986


   EL Rodeo Mexican Restaurant was founded in 1986 by Antonio Lopez and his brother- in- law,  Jesus Arellano.  Before starting El Rodeo, Antonio lived in Asuza, California where he worked in a metal factory for twenty –six years. At the time, he earned  110 dollars working six days a week. He supported his family of ten on that weekly wage. He decided it was time to seek a better future for his family and decided to move to Atlanta, Ga. His first month in Atlanta he found work at a construction company. His son, Rigoberto Lopez, had been working at a Mexican restaurant in the area and got him a job as a busboy. After working together for two months, Rigo urged Antonio to open a restaurant together. They took a few days off and traveled north stopping at multiple cities along the way looking for a potential business opportunity. They ended up in Roanoke, VA. They felt this was the best city for a new Mexican restaurant and found an old Rays King Burger on Williamson Road for rent. They opened the first Mexican restaurant In October of 1986 in Roanoke,Va and after three years of steady business they decided it was time to expand and moved across the street to a much larger building previously occupied by Oasis restaurant. Jesus and Antonio parted ways after opening the first El Rodeo, which is still in business today. There are thirteen El Rodeo restaurants spread out across Virginia and North Carolina. Jesus expanded his franchise as well opening El Toreo restaurants throughout the Roanoke Valley and Ohio.

El rodeo times
Roanoke, va

Antonio Lopez on the right with his son

Rojelio Lopez stand at the first El Rodeo in the Roanoke Valley in 1986.

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