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By Cara Beth Smith

Since opening in November of 2021, El Torito has become a favorite for locals. Thelma Flores and her husband, Tito Diaz, are the owners of El Torito Mexican Restaurant. Both Tito and Thelma are originally from Mexico – Tito from Chiapas and Thelma from Veracruz. Now, the couple calls Bladenboro home, and operates a small business with many goals in mind.

Offering authentic Mexican cuisine and traditional beverages, this family-oriented business brings their Mexican culture to small-town Bladenboro. Thelma and Tito shared, “We were inspired to open this restaurant by our love for our culture and flavorful food.”

When rumors of a Mexican restaurant opening in Bladenboro began to spread, many people were very excited. Bladenboro residents, as well as others from surrounding areas, have continuously supported this small business since its opening in 2021. The owners explained, “The original goal was to provide our community with more local take-out & dine-in options, and to share a piece of our culture with everyone around us.” They continued, “We have worked really hard to keep our customers satisfied.”

As we all know, all businesses – especially small businesses – face challenges along the way. Tito and Thelma shared, “Being a small business owner has its challenges, such as slow seasons and investing in it. We’ve learned that experience is your best friend, and that the more you learn about your business, the better you will run it. So that’s what we try to do, and it’s been working for us.”

El Torito is just getting started. As the owners continue to reach goals, they set new ones. El Torito currently sits in a small space on Railroad Street in downtown Bladenboro. Offering dine-in, and take-out, the small restaurant often gets very busy. The owners shared, “In the future we look forward to expanding. We want to be able to provide our customers with a better experience; Providing them with a bigger dining area and faster service.”

A message from the owners, Thelma Flores and Tito Diaz:

“On behalf of El Torito, we want to express our gratitude for all the support we have received from our local community, and even surrounding areas. The support has been immense, and we are happy to serve you all. I think it’s safe to say that we are here to stay. El Torito is located at 113 Railroad Street in Bladenboro, North Carolina. You can contact us at 910-809-0229 and find us on Facebook as El Torito Mexican Restaurant.”