On August 8, 1969, four people, including aspiring actress Sharon Tate walked into El Coyote and sat down for what would unknowingly be their last meal, for just a few hours later they would be brutally murdered by members of the Manson Family.
El Coyote first opened in 1931, on First and La Brea by Blanche and George March, recent Arizona transplants. By 1959 they moved to this larger location on Beverly Boulevard. Outside, vintage red neon buzzes above the white stucco building, and inside, Mexican inspired murals and vintage decor dot the walls, while the ceiling features a plethora of colorful Christmas lights strung throughout.
Sixty years after relocating to this location, and fifty years since the ghastly Manson murders, El Coyote remains a hot spot for locals, including many celebrities, and tourists alike, who come to nosh on California inspired Mexican and Tex-Max fare.
The list of celebrities is long, and you need only look to the wall of autographed head shots to spy one of your favorites. Back in the early years cowboy tough man John Wayne, and Star Trek and Fantasy Island star Ricardo Montalbán could be found here, and even Grace Kelly visited after becoming Princess of Monaco. In more recent years the likes of Kevin Spacey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Seth Rogan, and many more have dinned in the kitschy but warm atmosphere. And it should be no surprise that Quentin Tarantino frequents this place either, with his upcoming Manson inspired film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood due out this July.
In addition to the Manson connection, there are some who claim the restaurant is haunted, possibly by a woman named Margarita who used to live in the building before it became a restaurant, and was murdered by her husband, as well as by a little boy.
But if you’re into the Manson murders, it’s my understanding that the corner booth, against the far left back wall, near the restrooms is the booth the quartette dined at. And no, we did not sit there, although, we were seated at the booth that the movie Manson Family Vacation says is the table, as shown in this clip.
July 2019 Update: El Coyote was also featured in Quenten Taratino’s film, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, which involves the Manson family.