Thursday, July 18, 2024

Pancho’s Long Beach isn’t under new ownership; it was formally passed to family


Pancho’s Long Beach—the Mexican restaurant on Pacific Coast Highway just south of Clark Avenue—recently posted a notice of change in ownership. That prompted some concern that the family had pushed out of the business. But fear not: Pancho’s Long Beach is very much remaining in the hands of the Flores family.

The niece and nephew of the original owner will inherit Pancho’s Long Beach

“Recently, a public notice caused concern among our loyal customers, suggesting that Pancho’s was going to be under new ownership,” said Pancho’s Long Beach representative Valentina Orona. “To address these concerns lightheartedly, we mentioned to a few people that it was being turned into a different type of restaurant, a playful rumor Pancho himself used to start. This is untrue as the notice was just a formality.”

Since Francisco Flores’s passing in 2020, his niece Rosa and nephew Jaime have been running the restaurant. And with, focusing on the old-school style of Mexican cuisine that became ubiquitous throughout SoCal throughout the 1950s and 1960s. This, according to Valentina, was just the way Francisco did it.

“Nothing has changed,” Valentina said. “Jaime and Rosa have been an integral part of Pancho’s Long Beach for the past 40 years. The family continues to run the restaurant, supporting the family business with dedication and hard work. We’re deeply honored to be part of families’ cherished traditions, whether it’s going out or gathering with loved ones. It means the world to us that our loyal customers care so deeply about Pancho’s.”

Remembering Francisco Flores, founder of Pancho’s

Francisco Flores—founder of Pancho’s Long Beach on Pacific Coast Highway—has died at the age of 89.

Flores was born in Long Beach but returned to his family’s original homeland in Mexico during the Great Depression. He told people that he always knew he would return to the U.S. And that he did, opening Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant in 1966. With more than a 50-year history, it is one of the city’s oldest, continuously-run restaurants.

It was a space that marked the definitive style of Mexican-American food institutions. Brown, padded booths showered in golden light from rust-colored lamps. Hand-painted portraits of an idyllic Mexican life—horse-drawn carriages, women in colorful dresses, hills and pastures hung on the walls.

The menu was an invitation to a cuisine that began to define many Californians’ first taste of Mexican food: tacos dorados stuffed with ground beef and lettuce and guacamole, refried beans slathered in copious amounts of cheese, red-tinged rice, burritos the size of a small baby and drenched in enchilada sauce…

“Pancho was a quiet giant in our community,” financial advisor and friend Ben Goldberg wrote on Facebook at the time of his death. “He would support the local kids’ sports teams, churches and many people in need throughout his life… He came from humble beginnings, but left this world a better place and, in the process, epitomized the American Spirit with hard work and smart business and life decisions. I believe he has ensured that Pancho’s will be able to continue for years with the help and permission of his niece and nephew.I am grateful to have known him and I have become a better person because of it.”

Ultimately, Pancho’s Long Beach will remain the same

“We understand that the recent notice caused confusion and concern, and we appreciate that our customers were not going to let Pancho’s go away without a fight,” Valentina said. “Their support and passion inspire us every day. Our from-scratch cooking, low prices, and friendly service are what make Pancho’s a beloved destination for everyone. Pancho’s opened in 1966 and the family is honored to continue to carry on the legacy for many, many years to come.”

Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant is located at 4925 E. Pacific Coast Hwy.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.


  1. Best Mexican restaurant!
    I have been going there for 44 years…food and red sauce is to die for!!!
    Staff are so wonderful and welcoming!

    Thanks to all the fabulous ladies!

  2. Just tell us who does the real work there. Jaime! He’s always there. And the waitresses, Valentina, Josephine and Mel.

  3. Way to go Brian… to know Long Beach is to LOVE Panchos
    It has been a comforting staple in our family! First restaurant, happy and sad times … Panchos is there for us!
    The most moving moment was when my mom passed away and when we arrived at the church for her funeral a huge floral arrangement that said Love Panchos
    I was floored and wept with pure thankfulness and love!! ❤️ we love family business as we are too a LB business of 35 years!! Thank you for this article … you rock and so does Panchos !! Much success!

  4. Does Pancho’s serve mentioned? Thete was a Pancho’s located on South & Lakewood Blvd. that closed. They served the BEST menudo daily and we miss it terribly.

  5. Best Mexican food ever created! I have moved to Oregon and luckily get to Long Beach at least once a year and go at least twice while I am there. Miss it so much and Rosa too💜


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