Tue. Oct 4th, 2022

El Pollo Norteno

Anabella and Salvador Corona opened the first El Pollo Norteño restaurant back in 1981.  It was the culmination of their longtime desire to open a restaurant abroad after coming to the United States from the State of Sonora, in Mexico.

Today their son Alfonso continues their traditions but now the City of Santa Ana has condemned his flagship restaurant, at  202 N. Grand Ave. – the very same one that Salvador opened 32 years ago.  The reason?  The City is widening Grand Ave. and El Pollo Norteño is in their way.

And it’s not just this restaurant – the whole shopping center is slated to be torn down including the beloved Grande Bakery.   The loss of this resaurant cuts to the bone – Alfonso grew up here as did his kids.  Losing this location is like losing part of their family.


El Pollo Norteno is know for their marinated, secret-recipe mesquite-grilled pollo – but they also offer savory carnitas and delicious carne asada.  Their Family Packs are tremendous – with any of these meats plus their homemade rice and beans and unbelievable salsas plus warm corn and/or flour tortillas.  They also offer amazing tortas and freshly made burritos.  Click here to see their menu.

If there is a silver lining for Corona it is that he will still have a location in Santa Ana, over at 1525 W. First St., #A. But the reality is that this move by the City is going to hurt – this location is responsible for 60% of Corona’s sales and the City is lowballing him.  Even worse they are forcing him to move out before they have even agreed on terms.  Corona tells me he has to shut down by Nov. 1.

Corona employes sixteen workers in Santa Ana – most live here as does Corona and his family.  You see his portable taco tent at local events, where he donates the proceeds to the PTA and the Northeast Santa Ana Little League. He is active in those organizations as well as his church, which is also located here in Santa Ana.

Corona was planning to franchise his concept but now he is losing his top location, which underwrote the locations in Anaheim and Garden Grove as well as his other location in Santa Ana.  This will put a giant strain on Corona’s entire operation.

Alfonso Corona
Alfonso Corona

Corona is going to ask the Santa Ana City Council for help – and I hope they don’t blow him off.  Santa Ana already has a well-deserved reputation for being anti-business.  Why make things worse?

The City should be fair to Corona and his family.  An independent appraiser valued their business at a much higher value than what the City came up with.  The City needs to make this right!

By Editor

Art Pedroza started Orange County's first political blog, the Orange Juice, back in 2003. He now publishes the top civic blog in Orange County - New Santa Ana, plus other blogs including New Anaheim, New Fullerton and the Irvine News Blog, as well as the OC Politics Blog.

11 thoughts on “City to demolish El Pollo Norteño and the Grande Bakery, to widen Grand Ave.”
  1. Art,

    Doesn’t the city offer businesses displaced from street widening or improvements with displacement costs or other financial assistance in finding another location. Or is the property owners who are making the money and the tenants who get shafted.

    I say this because I have heard Garden Grove has helped many businesses move from the former Harbor Corridor, like Los Sanchez, a car alarm installer, a glass supplier, a realty company and most recently a shaved ice parlor find a new GG location and stay profitable.

  2. Did you know that this location has had multiple health issues ranging from cockroaches to sewage overflow? It might have delicious food, but the cleanliness is in question.

    1. Mayor Pulido has a lot of hipster vegan friends, they probably didn’t enjoy driving through those blocks and having to smell burning chicken carcasses out in the open. I enjoy Mexican BBQ chicken but it was a little much to be forced to enjoy it. That type of outdoor grilling belongs on a roadhouse highway not in the center of town. And the center of town is moving that away.

  3. This is what you call a VIBRANT vison for the city???

    I had the opportunity to spend some in NW Santa Ana this weekend. It is beyond me how First and Raitt and The area surrounding IHM. How anyone can consider this city as progressive has not ventured out of the Artist Village since last century!

  4. the property owners have known for 20 plus years that grand was going to be widened and the city would be taken these properties. It was no secret to the owners and people who have bought lots in this area.

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