We adjourned our Board meeting in memory of Louie Martinez, one of the most well-known restaurateurs in Escondido.
Louie passed away at the age of 87, in January 2023, surrounded by close family members, children, and grandchildren. Louie was a longtime owner of “La Tapatia” restaurant, whose family founded the popular Mexican eatery, which he owned and operated for a dozen years.
Born in Santa Monica and joined the family restaurant business at 6 years old when his father opened a restaurant in the La Jolla/Birdrock area called “La Rancherita” in 1942. Previously, Louie’s grandparents opened a restaurant in Escondido on Grand Avenue in 1934 called “La Tapatia” which still stands today. I was lucky enough to celebrate my birthday at La Tapatia, last year!
Louie ran both restaurants before he sold the one in La Jolla and continued to run the family restaurant in Escondido until 1987 and handed the restaurant responsibilities to family members. This allowed him to pursue his love of music as a concert promoter and was part of the team that started the concerts after the Padre games when they were held in Jack Murphy Stadium.
He came back to the restaurant business in 1994 and ran it successfully until he sold it in 2004. Throughout his time at the restaurant, he incorporated jazz nights at the restaurant that were very popular. During this time, he developed an even stronger relationship with the Escondido community, resulting in him being selected as Grand Marshal for the 1998 annual Grape Day Parade.
We send our condolences to Louie’s entire family, he was a beloved community man who truly enjoyed his blessed life, and he will be missed by the entire Escondido community.