El Mexicali Café celebrates 40 years at its location in historic Indio

INDIO – Those who have dined at El Mexicali Café’s iconic location on Indio Boulevard over the past four decades understand why it’s so special.  From the rumbling railroad soundtrack that accompanies every meal, to its memorable chiles gueritos (served with mayo and soy sauce, of course), the restaurant has shown a commitment to serving up authentic homestyle cooking even in times of hardship and uncertainty.

El Mexicali Café Celebrates Ruby Anniversary

The Café celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2016.

Today, Friday, March 19, Indio Mayor Elaine Holmes will recognize owner Monica Murguia and her family at the Café with a proclamation celebrating 40 years of success.

“Not only is El Mexicali Café a staple in our downtown, but during Women’s History Month, it’s also fitting we should mention that it is the oldest woman-owned restaurant in the Coachella Valley,” said Mayor Elaine Holmes.  “In addition, to recognize this achievement on the one year anniversary of the COVID-shutdown shows the resiliency of this family and our community.”

The eatery was started by Murguia’s mother, Carmen.  The business now has two locations, including one on Monroe Street, which is run by Monica’s sister Laura.

In 2016, El Mexicali Café was honored as the 56th Assembly District Small Business of the Year.

At that time, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia highlighted Monica and Luis, owners of El Mexicali Café. Monica’s mother Carmen, opened the first El Mexicali Cafe in Indio. Now, the business has expanded to three locations with 70 employees.

El Mexicali Café is the oldest woman-owned restaurant in Indio and the Coachella Valley and a destination for authentic Mexican cuisine. Known for its shrimp stuffed yellow peppers; the Café draws locals and tourists from around the globe. Founded in 1981 by Carmen Murguia, the family legacy continues under the ownership of daughter, Monica, who personally greets guests, treats employees as family and believes that giving back to the community is the right thing to do.

The Café supports local churches and school fundraisers, provides meals for the homeless and is actively engaged with Indio’s largest annual fundraiser for the local historical museum.



Image Sources

  • El Mexicali Café circa 1980s: City of Indio