Let’s taco at Tito’s

Tito’s Tacos
Los Angeles Times photographer Mariah Tauger paid a visit to Tito’s Tacos in Culver City. Established in 1959, it’s become a staple for many in Los Angeles and has served multiple generations of loyal customers.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)
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The Times visited Tito’s Tacos on Monday, July 15, and found, as always, customers lined up outside.
Tito’s Tacos
Customers line up to order at Tito’s Tacos on Monday, July 15, 2019
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

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Beef tacos sizzle in the fryer.
Beef tacos at Tito’s Tacos
Beef tacos sizzle in the fryer at Tito’s Tacos.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Jonathan Gold remembered in (mostly) his own words.

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Employees prepare tacos by the truckload in an effort to keep up with customer demand and ensure the line moves quickly and smoothly.
Inside Tito’s Tacos
Inside the kitchen at Tito’s Tacos, employees prepare large quantities of tacos in an effort to keep up with customer demand and ensure the food line moves quickly and smoothly.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

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It’s not just tacos. It’s burritos...
Tito’s Tacos burritos
The burritos at Tito’s Tacos.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

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... and beef tamales.
Tito’s Tacos beef tamales
Beef tamales are prepared inside the kitchen of Tito’s Tacos.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Though my mom’s dog likes Apple Pan Hickoryburgers, Patio Chicago Dogs, Gelson’s rare roast beef, Oat Thins, kosher salami and basically anything from Jerry’s Deli that isn’t cole slaw, what the dog likes best is a hard-shell taco from Tito’s Tacos in Culver City, stripped of salsa and the mantle of shredded lettuce.

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Endless avocados ...
Tito’s Tacos avocados
Avocados are prepared to make guacamole at Tito’s Tacos.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

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...for vats of guacamole.
Tito’s Tacos guacamole
A Tito’s Tacos employee scoops guacamole into a container.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

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Longtime Tito’s “chipsero” Jose L. Recendez prepares tortilla chips. Recendez has worked at Tito’s for 29 years!
Tito’s Tacos “chipsero” Jose L. Recendez
Longtime chipsero Jose L. Recendez has worked at Tito’s Tacos for 29 years.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

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Though he was most famous for his writing and his eating, Jonathan Gold was more than just the belly of Los Angeles.

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Layla Fizz, granddaughter of the owners, adds salsa to a bean and cheese burrito.
Tito’s Tacos
Layla Fizz, granddaughter of Wirt Morton, whose wife Lynne Davidson owns Tito’s Tacos, adds salsa to a bean and cheese burrito.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

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But for many, the star of the menu is the crispy taco.
Tito’s Taco
Crunchy tacos from Tito’s Tacos.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

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Young Jazlynn Munoz and Emily Pena enjoy lunch.
Tito’s Tacos
Jazlynn Munoz, left, and Emily Pena enjoy their lunch at Tito’s Tacos.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

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Passing the time while waiting for those tacos...
Tito’s Tacos
Kids wait for their meal at Tito’s Tacos.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

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As the day begins to wind down...
Tito’s Tacos
Inside the kitchen at Tito’s Tacos, employees begin to clean up after a busy day.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

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...hard-working employees begin to clean up after a busy day.
Tito’s Tacos
Employees begin to close up shop at Tito’s Tacos.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

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Fin.
Tito’s Tacos
Tito’s Tacos closes for the day.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)


Mariah Tauger