El Paragua is the product of two ambitious youngsters, Larry and Pete, the oldest sons of Frances and Luis Atencio. In 1958, the two young boys set up a roadside stand on the corner of the historic Taos Highway and Santa Cruz Road, with the full intention of selling their Mama’s tacos and tamales.
They sold tacos daily and established a loyal, local customer following in the valley. Their mother supplied them with tacos, and their father provided a multi-colored beach umbrella to shade them from the New Mexico weather—a symbol which inspired the restaurant’s name and is still proudly used in El Paragua’s logo as a reminder of the restaurant’s beginnings.
In 1966, the Atencios opened a restaurant in the former tack room of the family home of Senor Atencio. Due to an overwhelmingly successful first year, the family expanded and added a bar in the family-owned plumbing shop next door. Over the years, El Paragua has expanded greatly, but one thing has remained constant: they still provide delicious Mexican dishes to satisfied customers.