Rufino Tamayo and David C. Lizárraga on opening night.
The Story of Tamayo Restaurant
On a cold and misty morning in 1984, TELACU President and CEO David C. Lizárraga looked out of his office window and saw a wrecking crew arrive at the building on the southwest corner of Olympic and Goodrich Boulevards. Concerned that the imposing 1928 Spanish-style architectural landmark had been slated for destruction, he quickly ran across the street and discovered that the only way it could be saved was through acquisition. With the desire that the entire community have opportunity to enjoy the magnificent structure, TELACU decided to convert it into a restaurant. It has become a very popular community gathering place where celebrations of all kinds are held – from birthdays to weddings, anniversaries and political events.
The challenge of naming the restaurant provided an excellent opportunity to further enhance the beauty and cultural impact of the establishment. Remembering the great Maestro Rufino Tamayo, whom he had met a few years earlier, Lizárraga traveled to The Maestro’s home in the San Angel District of Mexico City to request permission to name the restaurant Tamayo. A humble Indian from Oaxaca, who had become one of the great painters of Mexico – along with his contemporaries Siquieros, Orozco and Diego Rivera – when presented with TELACU’s mission of empowering the Latino community through economic development, Maestro Tamayo made a magnanimous gesture. “In Mexico City there is a famous restaurant called Picasso, and in East Los Angeles there will be a famous restaurant called Tamayo,” he responded. He also generously donated many of his famous works now proudly displayed in places of honor within the restaurant.
As the business woman of the family and protective guard of her husband’s legacy, his wife Olga supported his decisions with one proviso: that her Oaxacan recipe for mole always be included on the menu. For many years before his death, The Maestro and Olga would stop by unannounced to taste and verify the integrity of her recipe. To this day, her creation remains one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes.
It is our hope that you enjoy our unique combination of regional Mexican flavors, tastes and aromas, as well as contemporary adaptations of traditional Mexican cuisine, surrounded by an impressive display of original artwork, mixographias and tapestries that grace the walls of Tamayo.
Tamayo Restaurant | 5300 E Olympic Blvd | Los Angeles, CA 90022 | 323.260.4700
(Located on the corner of Olympic and Goodrich Boulevards)