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Trouble on the East Side? El Regio and La Regiomontana “Temporarily” Closed

Pollo El Regio on East Riverside has a sign up saying that they are closed until July 28 for remodeling. Today’s the 28th, and they were not open when I drove by a few hours ago. I also didn’t see any evidence of remodeling. I’m also sad to report that La Regiomontana (also known as Taquería El Regio) next door has an undated memo on their drive-thru window saying that they, too, are not open for business because the owners asked the landlords to close temporarily. The note also warns people not to enter the property without permission and thanks the restaurant’s fans, saying that they will re-open in a few days. However, there’s no way of telling how long they’ve been closed.

When I checked out a new taquería on Montopolis, I noticed that a white city truck with the words “Code Enforcement” on its door was just departing . Another patron told me that a man had entered to hand the girls in the kitchen a yellow notice. Taquería Rodriguez, a taco trailer that operates in a convenience-store lot on East Riverside, also had a sign up stating that they were closed.

I can’t help but wonder if these closures, all in the same part of town, are related to some kind of citywide crack-down. Has anyone else noticed other closures on that side of town?

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  1. I don't know about code violations, but sadly, I think El Regio is in trouble. The exact same signs were at the Stassney location. I went back on July 28 and it was still closed, this time no sign about remodeling or when it would reopen. There was no actual remodel, I believe that notice was just to keep people from calling them. You wouldn't believe the amount of people circling their parking lot with confused, sad faces! Mine was one of them! The only hope I have is that there were actual code violations and they are in the process of "cleaning up their act." Please, if there is a God, they will reopen!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Buddylove

      Any chance it's just too hot for them to work in there right now? Maybe? Please?

      1. re: foodiegal71

        Yeah, I'll go along with that! And if they do reopen, I promise to never again complain about them not giving me enough green salsa.

      2. re: Buddylove

        I might literally shed tears if El Regio closes. I tried it a few months ago and I can't live without that Red Chicken/Green Salsa mixture. Maybe we can write letters to the owner?

        The thing that few people know is that El Pollo Regio is a chain that has a few locations throughout Texas. Unless the whole chain is in financial trouble (or there were code violations), I can't see why the Austin locations would be going under...I see a lot of good business flowing through that place.

      3. Ouch. A quick check of their website shows that all the Austin locations have VANISHED! There's one left in Round Rock, though.

        So whatever happened has something to do with Austin. What city building do we picket? And why?


        Email to both the addressed on the website bounced for me.

        Somebody on Yelp says the owner is being investigated for drug traficking. But I wouldn't put much faith into such a rumor.


        3 Replies
        1. re: sqwertz

          "Somebody on Yelp says the owner is being investigated for drug traficking. But I wouldn't put much faith into such a rumor."

          Although that would explain my severe dependence (and withdrawals) ... and why some of us are found dumpster-diving outside their place. ;)

          Seriously though, we need to find out what's going on here because I won't last long in this drought. I see & smell that smoke everyday, twice a day, and this week I ain't been right without it.

          1. re: sqwertz

            Well, there’s some good news, squertz. The Austin locations of El Regio were never listed on that website—at least for the past couple of years. The website would seem to have been set up by the Dallas-area and Round Rock franchises. So nothing has changed as far as that goes. But I like your idea of organizing in defense of taco trucks if there has been some kind of crackdown.

            I've found no evidence to confirm that particularly ugly online rumor, and I hate to think of what might have motivated someone to post that. I did read in a Spanish-language local paper that, two years ago, the owners of the East Riverside location were being legally challenged for not paying overtime to some of their workers. There’s nothing to connect that report to their current closing, however.

            It’s come up on this board before that Pollo El Regio has franchises in Austin, San Marcos, San Antonio, and other cities in the state. All franchises are independently owned, though individuals can own more than one location. It looks like for now we have to assume that the East Riverside restaurants, and any Austin El Regio branches owned by the same partners, are closed for financial reasons. I’m still hoping that it’s just temporary.

            1. re: MPH

              There is a crackdown on mobile vendors right now. There's a new inspector on the scene with something to prove. I fear for some of my favorite mobile vendors, because it's not going well for them out there folks. Not going well at all...

          2. The sign was either painted over or otherwise covered, I noticed today.

            1. I have heard that all of the El Regio's are owned by the same people, so I don't think it's an issue with some of them being owned by someone else and needing to close. Plus, we went past two different north locations last night, and both of them were open and even had nice newish looking signs. So, if you're looking for your fix, the locations at Rundberg and theone off of Berkman, are definitely still open.

              4 Replies
              1. re: kpeterson

                They have a truck parked at the Fiesta on 38 1/2 St. No idea if it is in service or not.

                1. re: Torckus

                  The only truck I saw there this weekend was El Pollo Rico, in the gas station lot. 1/2 a chicken was 6-7 bucks. A whole was on special if you got it before 1:00 midweek. Chicken was wonderful -- red chile and charred crust. Came with brilliant orange red rice, spicy beans with bacon and sausage; creamy, spice green sauce; red sauce, lime, and corn tortillas.

                  1. re: zebcook

                    Zeb, I reckon some of the Regio locations are renaming themselves El Pollo Rico. The Rundberg one had this new name too but I grabbed chow there on Saturday and it was the same tasty goodness as always.

                    1. re: coco_beware

                      That's interesting. There's a really great grilled chicken chain in the DC area called El Pollo Rico. Probably not related, though. It's a fairly generic name.

              2. I'm happy to report that the El Regio at 183 and Ohlen is up and cooking. I am even happier to report that I have some leftovers heating up in the oven right now. :)

                1. Not sure what to make of this and how it fits into the recent happs, but El Regio opened up an outpost in Chicago:


                  Any updates on Riverside ? I was driving back from the airport late last night and couldn't see that yellow note (stating they were closed) on the window anymore, which kinda got my hopes up.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Nab

                    Any updates on the Stassney location? I know that the North locations are open - but it doesn't help those of us who live South! I would need an extra $20 for the gas to go up there and get my cheap chicken! Doesn't make sense.

                    1. re: Buddylove

                      The Stassney & S 1st is closed and painted over. Doesn't look like that one's coming back. The Stassney and Pleasant Valley trailer has been open and smoking without any shutdowns. I don't eat a lot of meat, so I don't know the quality, but it's the same sign and overwhelming smell of roast chicken.

                      1. re: jacy

                        Hmmm, so there's a Pollo Regio trailer on Stassney and Pleasant Valley??! I did not know that, must be new. Now, I've got to check it out. Thanks!

                        1. re: Buddylove

                          Its been there for over a year,maybe two. Its a trailer in the parking lot of a gas station.

                        2. re: jacy

                          El Regio at Stassney @ 1st is now El Pollo Rico. Opened yesterday. Man told me tonight all that changed was the name. I can vouch for that. Chicken and salsa just as good as ever!

                    2. On my way home from the airport last night, I think I saw an "open" sign lit up in the window of the Riverside location.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Brian Lindauer

                        If your impression turns out to be accurate, Brian, that would be wonderful news. I would love to find out soon that La Regiomontana next door has (also?) re-opened.

                        I can confirm that the El Pollo Regio in San Marcos is open for business and is still operating under the same name. Their chow is discussed in this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/426305

                        1. re: MPH

                          Brian is correct. Riverside Regio is now open, and my life is back on track again. In my excitement, I failed to check on La Regiomontana's status.

                          I hugged and kissed the bird, told her I would never let any harm come her way, that I would never neglect her, never take our relationship for granted. Reunited and it feels so goooood .....

                          1. re: Nab

                            As reported above, El Pollo Regio on Riverside is open and the chow is just as spectacular as ever.

                            La Regiomontana is not open, yet. There was an older hispanic gentleman sitting on a bucket next to the drive through window. He thinks it will reopen but he did not know for sure.

                            I have no idea about the credibility of his information.

                            1. re: El General

                              Thanks for the update, El General, even though I'm reading it late. The past several weeks have been so crazy that I still haven't checked in on La Regiomontana—apparently, I also missed the notices about chowhound's major redesign. I thought I'd clicked on the wrong website.

                              Has there been any news on La Regiomontana since you posted on August 15?

                              1. re: MPH

                                Welcome back, MPH.

                                The future of La Regiomontana is uncertain. Riverside Regio has changed over to El Pollo Rico, though the bird appears to be about the same. LR is still shuttered, though I am wondering if the Rico folks are in the process of acquiring La Regiomontana recipes or something, because surely that place just can't go uninhabited. Here's to hopin'.


                                1. re: MPH

                                  Stassney location is now Pollo Rico, and it's the same bird and the same green sauce! Thank God!

                                  1. re: Buddylove

                                    Folks.... I have the complete chisme.... El Pollo Regio originally had mexican owners (from Monterrey, that's why they called Regio) and they started a partnership with a Arabian or Indian guy know as Mommi in the Austin are. This Mommi worked with El Pollo Regio in four location as a minor partner for a couple of years and He, as a good indian, started his own Pollo with the secrets off El Pollo Regio, which was called Pollo Rico. When the owners of pollo Regio knew about this situation they tried to terminate this partnership, but the indian did not accept that, and he was asking for a lot of money, so they decided to sell these four restaurants to the Indian guy insted to pay an unreasonable amount to this opportunist, in the mid time, the owners decided to close while they were in the legal fight. This Indian guy get his mexican chain with all the secrets thanks to the original owner of El Regio which is still the owner of the other Regios in Austin, the one in San Marcos, in San Antonio, Dallas, Chicago and recently they open one in Atlanta, and as I know they will be open more Regios in Austin. I love the grilled chicken, but I feel better eating from the original mexican Regio than this Indian copy...

                                    1. re: Buddylove

                                      Ugh. I hope I caught the Rundberg and 35 Pollo Rico on a bad day. I just grabbed my lunch there and it was categorically awful: burnt, dried bird, stale, torn tortillas, and my beloved green salsa tasted like tinned sardines. Yeeech. My initial impression after the Regio changeover was that the food was identical but today it was truly awful. Proceed with caution!