From a 24 seat restaurant in Burien, Washington in 1974 to a collection of 35 Azteca Mexican Restaurants, established by 2001, Azteca Mexican Restaurants now employ more than 1,400 people, and serves over 400,000 customers each month. Stretching from Everett, Washington in the north, to Ashland, Oregon in the south, to Kennewick and Spokane, Washington in the East, and eventually even further to Azteca Real in Davie, Florida, Azteca continues to grow from a small “mom and pop” restaurant to a major corporation in the Pacific Northwest.
During the company’s developing years, Jose Ramos, owner and founder of Azteca recruited his three brothers, Hector, Jaime and Victor to help him manage and run the Burien restaurant. Each brother brought the strong people management skills, practical business sense, and solid work ethic instilled by their parents to the thriving family enterprise. By 1981 Ramos and his brothers had opened two more Aztecas in Ballard and Kent, Washington.
With a proven track record of success, the Ramos’ were able to accelerate the company’s growth with formal financial backing in the late 1980’s. In 1988 the first Oregon restaurants opened in the Clackamas Town Center and by 1989 the total number of restaurants had grown to seventeen.
During the next four years Azteca opened another fourteen restaurants throughout the Pacific Northwest including the company’s first Eastern Washington location, which opened in Spokane in 1991. In February 1995 the company opened a brand new facility—designed by Azteca Restaurant Enterprises, Inc.—in Bremerton, Washington, and a new facility in Burien in 1997, relocating their very first location. These openings marked the company’s first moves into space specifically constructed for Azteca.
Marketed as a family restaurant, Azteca Restaurant Enterprises, Inc. features a wide selection of authentic Mexican fare including a variety of Mexican salads, soups, burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, and a “Little Amigo™ ” menu, specifically designed for children, all served in a warm Hacienda-style atmosphere. Responding to changing lifestyles, Azteca features a broad range of non-alcoholic beverages, and entrees available for those watching calories, featuring Broiled Chicken Breasts served with Rancho (colesterol-free) beans.
Each restaurant boasts a Cantina where Azteca’s famous Ramosrita® Margaritas, Sizzling Fajitas and Award Winning Nachos make every visit a fiesta! Nine of the locations also feature a Tortillieria machine which prepares fresh tortillas for guests right in the dining room, and are available by the dozen for take-home.
With increasing demands for new and interesting flavors, Azteca management continually searches for new authentic menu items, including the recently introduced Borrego Azteca: marinated seasoned lamb shanks baked and served with Pico de Gallo and sliced avocado and Molcajete, a bowl of chicken and beef strips sautéed in a mushroom, onion, and tomato sauce topped with melted Monterey Jack cheese and sliced avocados.
Although Azteca Restaurant Enterprises, Inc. uses state-of-the art accounting and operational techniques, their management style remains very “hands on.” Employees are treated as family, and in turn, treat their customers like family. In keeping with this friendly approach, the company routinely establishes a strong presence in each community it joins by supporting a variety of charitable efforts. A feeling of fun and camaraderie is a staple at every Azteca.
Winner of many awards from both food writers and consumers, Azteca has been acclaimed as “Best Overall Restaurant,” “Best Mexican Restaurant,” “Best Ethnic Restaurant,” and “Best Restaurant to Take Kids To.” With a mission to be the industry leader in the Retail Food Market – specifically Casual Theme Restaurants in the Pacific Northwest, Azteca Restaurant Enterprises, Inc. is committed to excellence in guest satisfaction, food quality, service, presentation, and creating a “fiesta” atmosphere.