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Meet Rosario Sotelo and Rodnia Attiq of El Borrego in Kensington and City Heights

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rosario Sotelo and Rodnia Attiq.

Rosario and Rodnia, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
20 years ago my Mom Rosario Sotelo saw the lack of authentic Mexican food in San Diego, there were No lamb barbacoa tacos in the area, so she decided to start Saturdays and Sundays from 8am to 2 pm in a driveway (our own farmers market) to see if the customers would like our lamb barbacoa. Three months later we were selling 600 pounds of lamb barbacoa per weekend and the customers start saying: “I told my brother to come to El Borrego. And we asked: who’s El Borrego and they said: YOU are El Borrego lamb you sell lamb”. So that was a no brainer naming our future restaurant “El Borrego”.

We open in 2005 with a small menu like chilaquiles, lamb meat by weight, by tacos and thru years we start adding burritos, pork dishes, enchiladas, soups and a lot of vegan and vegetarian options. Our customers have been renting the restaurant for private events after-hours, so we decided to open in the back of the restaurant the “secret garden” of El Borrego, coming this winter 2019.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No smooth at ALL. It’s a very competitive market and it is not the same if you are not checking in your business, you have to be present. We went through a recession and now four years trying to open the secret garden which is an outdoor space. San Diego city is not supportive at all. The fees and process to submit plans and get the permits are so expensive and takes forever. Even though we are paying taxes, trying to build a nicer and better community and also creating new jobs in our area. It’s been very hard.

Please tell us about your business.
Our specialty is lamb barbacoa cooked for eight hours. We also have quesadillas, roll taquitos and we do catering. We are known for our huitlacoche and squash blossom quesadillas and our green pozole is very popular too. We are very proud of bringing specialty dishes on the menu and showing that Mexican food is NOT only burritos and the way you have to eat a good lamb taco. We are very proud that even Mexican people living in the area say: “OMG haven’t been in Mexico the last ten years, you just transported me to my grandma’s backyard on a sunday afternoon with my whole family”, so yes we are very proud to show what is really Mexican food and have a little piece of Mexico in San Diego.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Score and our mentor Elias Sheinberg, CDC access to capital, and Accion. Our mentor and friend Elias Sheinberg guide us to save some steps along the process with his knowledge, and later on, organizations like CDC who believe in us and the project of the secret garden to grow the business and that will take us to the next level to achieve our goals.

Pricing:

  • Lamb taco 2.99 + tax
  • Lamb meat by weight 1 pound (feeds 3-4) 23.50 +tax (includes tortillas and salsas)
  • Huevos Rancheros 9.75 + tax

Contact Info:

  • Address: El Borrego Restaurant
    4280 El Cajon Blvd
    San Diego 92105
  • Website: www.elborregorestaurant.com
  • Phone: (619) 281-1355
  • Email: elborregoinc@gmail.com
  • Instagram: el_borrego_restaurant
  • Facebook: @elborregosd


Image Credit:
Rosario Sotelo , Rodnia Attiq

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