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Longtime Mexican restaurant closes

Posted: October 9, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 9, 2012 2:00 a.m.

The former El Chaparral location in Canyon Country closed without explanation.


El Chaparral Mexican restaurant, a longtime staple in Canyon Country, closed last month, leaving patrons with no information for the abrupt closure.

Part of the Presidente chain of restaurants founded in 1967, the first El Chaparral restaurant opened in Sylmar.

The chain includes three Presidente restaurants of which one is located in Saugus, El Chaparral Restaurant and El Queso Grande. With the closure of the local El Chaparral, the chain has five remaining restaurants, four of which are located in the San Fernando Valley.

One local patron, Kevin Stanchfield of Valencia, said he and his wife visited the restaurant when they moved here from Pasadena.

“One of the first things I did was start trying as many of the local establishments as I could — especially those with ethnic options,” Stanchfield said. “The service was fine, friendly. But the food was terribly mediocre and pedestrian.”

Stanchfield said he wasn’t expecting a fine dining experience but that he did not find El Chaparral a comfortable place to relax with the bright lights, big screen TVs and more. He and his wife were looking for a place to eat that was a little more cozy or unique, he said.

“I grew up L.A. and have no qualms about going to a ‘hole in the wall’ with a ‘C’ health rating if I hear the food is good, authentic or if the establishment has an interesting atmosphere or history,” Stanchfield said.

While many locals visited the restaurant, with its mural-adorned walls, for group gatherings in a large back room, other diners seeking a good place to eat in Canyon Country said they recently found slow service, mediocre meals and tables not properly cleared or cleaned.  

Calls to the company’s headquarters as to the reason for the closure of the Santa Clarita restaurant were not returned.



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