Sal DeLaTorre, the patriarch of the family was at the helm from 1960 until turning it over to his oldest son Raul. Sal had tremendous foresight back in the early 60's and he knew the Mexican food business would dramatically explode, and poised his tortilla factory to be the leader by purchasing some of the newest and most advanced machinery available at that time. Although crude by today's standards, the tortilla machinery was the first of its kind in the Denver area, and the increased production capacity and attention to quality played a vital role in the ability of Mexican food restauranteurs to economically obtain consistently high quality tortillas, thus allowing them to expand, feeding a rapidly growing Denver population that loved its Mexican food!
Some of our earliest customers were La Bonita, La Mancha (Larimer Square in the 70's), El Charrito, Mexican Original, El Patio, El Paso del Norte, The Fort, Los Panchos, Riviera, Monterrey House, Casa de Manuel, Bullfighter, Castle Rock Inn, Bull Fighter, College Inn, Holly Inn's, Tico's, Los Perdidos' in Breckenridge, Red Lion in Vail, among hundreds of others, in fact Raul personally made many freezing deliveries to restaurants in the isolated and burgeoning ski resorts west of Denver - long before the time saving Eisenhower Tunnel opened!
We were the first to sell flour and corn tortillas to local school districts, back then sometimes delivering them from a VW beetle. Back in the mid seventies, we had the very first automated tortilla chip line devoted exclusively to frying fresh tortilla chips daily for restaurants here in Denver. Heck, while a young Elway was still in high school, we were selling tortilla chips to nacho stand concessionaires at Bronco games played at the old "Mile Hi Stadium".
However, even Sal's tremendous foresight could not have prepared him to envision the actual explosion of Mexican food in the Rocky Mountain region and in 1981 turned the reigns over to his son Raul. Sal and his wife Consuelo, can still be found at his newest creation called Chelo's located at 2012 Larimer Street, known well for delicious tamales and Mexican bread, where today he is busy grooming his younger son Hugo and daughter Lorena to follow his footsteps.
Raul, after 21 years of grooming, took control of the business in 1981, shifting gears to modernize and create a higher capacity tortilla manufacturing facility to keep up with the exploding demand for their products. Taking the next step into the larger network of foodservice distributors, he grew by leaps and bounds over the next 20 years. Raul's artistic talents also showed up in the many new varieties of tortillas that he has added. His vast investments to higher quality manufacturing processes and unending quest for innovative products insure Raquelitas leadership in the Colorado Mexican food scene. Truly, the DeLaTorre family has made a mark on the Mexican food business here in Colorado over the past 54 years and to this day, continues to lead with innovation and commitment to customers.
But being the oldest and isn't what makes us the market leader, rather it is the experience from 54 years of relentlessly improving quality and as a result from these improvements; constant growth, that makes us the market leader. You will find tortillas that cost less, and you will find tortilla factories with higher production capacities, but there is nobody, and I repeat, nobody, that makes a better tasting, more delicious, higher quality and better performing tortilla than Raquelitas does. It is no secret that the restaurant industry is more competitive than ever, with owners watching food costs more closely than ever before, yet even in this environment Raquelitas has thrived and remaining at the forefront of tortilla manufacturing, keeping our customers leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. Successful restaurateurs know serving the best food possible is a recipe for success and brings customers back again and again!
Raquelitas is here after all these years because we deliver the best value, quality, and total commitment to our customers. We are not on a mission to be the rock bottom priced, cheap commodity grade tortilla supplier to everyone. Frankly there is no pride in that and we are not throwing away our 54 years of business experience to make low priced garbage - hey we will leave that to others. Rather, to insure the longevity of the reputation of the Colorado Mexican food scene, we have taken it upon ourselves to make the absolute best product we can so that every dish served anywhere makes people want to go eat Mexican food again and again. In our opinion, serving cheap tasteless garbage is not what gave Colorado's Mexican food it's great reputation that it has today. That is one reason we are so involved in many of the culinary schools all over Colorado. We want the chefs of tomorrow to raise the bar and make the Mexican food scene in Colorado even better tomorrow, and Raquelitas is doing it's best to make it happen, every day!
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