Published : Thursday, May 18, 2017 | 5:54 AM
Popular local business leader Abel Ramirez, owner of El Portal Restaurant at 695 E. Green Street in Pasadena, is celebrating his 75th birthday Thursday, and will be offering some delectable freebies Friday for patrons who could come at around 6 p.m.
El Portal is a popular Pasadena hang-out that offers authentic Yucatan and Mexican cuisine, along with live entertainment on weekends.
“We’re doing some complimentary hors d’oeuvres and some tastings, some tequila and rum and other beverages,” Ramirez says. “And then anybody who wishes to stay for dinner will be on their own.”
Ramirez said there will also be festive mariachi music Friday night as well to entertain their loyal patrons.
El Portal opened for business in 1995 after Ramirez took over the former owner to focus on cuisine from his native Yucatan. Asked how long he’s been in business, he would say it has been 54 years, which actually counts from the year he came into the United States to spend a summer vacation at his sister’s house in 1963.
That summer stay was extended, and he began working at the Huntington Hotel washing dishes, and then was promoted to various administrative positions.
He was at the Huntington for 15 years, and then was hired to manage Caltech’s Athenaeum where he was the Club’s General Manager for 17 years.
Ramirez’s wife Rosalia has always been with him since he opened El Portal, providing strength, motivation, and training the chefs to adopt the authentic flavors of Yucatan.
Ramirez has been board member of Hillsides Home for Children, is founder and former board member of the Pasadena Playhouse District Association, and also serves on the board of Foothill Vocational Services. He has been involved with the Tournament of Roses for over 28 years and is now a member of the Pasadena Senior Center.
Asked how he keeps himself healthy at 75, Ramirez said it’s his love for work and his desire to please his customers that keeps him going.
“I work with the passion I have for what I do, that’s all,” he says.
El Portal also includes Vanessa’s Café that serves great cappuccino or latte with delicious pastries, and Yahaira’s Café that’s ready to serve you a great breakfast.
For more information, call (626) 795-8553 or visit www.elportalrestaurant.com.