The History of El Restaurante Azteca

The History of El Restaurante Azteca

This picture is the original Azteca cafe when located at present day 18th Street in Downtown Hondo.  The cafe served many military personnel who were training at the Hondo Airfield in the 1930’s.  Notice the pool hall upstairs.

This picture is Abel Dominguez (original owner and founder of Azteca Cafe)and his spouse Juanita Lugo Dominguez.  The young child in the middle is their youngest son, Arturo, who would eventually rebuild Azteca Cafe into El Restaurante Azteca in the 1990’s.

Abel, Arturo, & Juanita, 1940’s

The Beginning
In 1932, Abel Dominguez opened his restaurant “Azteca-Cafe” in Downtown Hondo.  The Azteca Cafe first operated in a two-story building across from the Christopher Bless Dry Goods Store on North Front Street (present day 18th Street).  The Azteca Cafe was open 24 hours a day and quickly became a favorite hangout for many Hondo and Medina County residents, travelers, ranchers, farmers, and military personnel in the area.  They arrived on foot, horseback, wagons, and automobiles.  Food served consisted of huevos rancheros, tacos, enchiladas, tamales, a bowl of chili con carne for under a dime, cabrito, and steak for under a quarter.  Various brands of beer such as Texas Pride, Shiner, Monte Carlo, Magnolia, Blatz and Budweiser were also served.  A mug of beer cost less than 10 cents at the time.

1940’s – 1986
Abel Dominguez passed away in 1943 and the Azteca Cafe was taken over by his son, Rudy Dominguez.  In 1948, the Azteca cafe relocated from its 18th Street location to its present location.  From this time until Rudy’s passing in 1984, the Azteca was rented out to various Hondo City tenants operating various businesses.  Shortly after Rudy’s death in 1984, the building was put up for sale by his children who no longer resided in the area.

1987 – Present Day
Desiring to keep the building within the Dominguez family, Arturo (Abel’s youngest son), his wife, Alicia, and their son Arturo Jr. (Tuddy) purchased the Azteca building in 1987. On September 1992, following five years of remodeling the building literally brick by brick, Arturo & Alicia Dominguez reopened the building as “El Restaurante Azteca.” Arturo & Alicia’s desire from day one was to provide Hondo a quality family style restaurant the city and citizens of Hondo could be proud of. Since 1992 the restaurant has enjoyed tremendous success and has expanded over the years to now encompass a significant presence in Downtown Hondo. Tuddy returned home in 1998 to learn the family business and thus began the 3rd Generation of Dominguez’s owning and operating a business in Downtown Hondo. From the very beginning, Arturo & Alicia set high standards for their restaurant. Sadly in December 2014, El Restaurante Azteca lost one of our original founders, Alicia Dominguez. The impact Alicia along with her husband, Arturo had to our restaurant extends far beyond our four walls. Through their combined efforts, Arturo and Alicia have laid a foundation (some would say a “Cornerstone”) for the City of Hondo and future generations of citizens to enjoy and prosper from. It is not an understatement to say that the success of their restaurant over the past three decades has played a major role in keeping the Central Business District in Downtown Hondo a vibrant and bustling area for all.

Today, Tuddy and his wife Lissy own and operate the business which in September 2022 marks its 30th year in Business! It is our pleasure to welcome you to El Restaurante Azteca!