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El Monterey History

Family recipes from Rosie Ruiz are the inspiration for the authentic ingredients and delicious Mexican flavors you’ll find in all of our El Monterey® products.

The best Mexican food. Always.

Fred with Mom

Co-founder Fred Ruiz gets some recipe tips from his mother, Rosie.

At Ruiz Foods, good food always goes hand in hand with family. And it has since 1964, when Fred Ruiz made his first enchilada with his father, Louis, based on the family recipes of his mother, affectionately known as Grandma Rosie.

Today, we have a bit more help in the kitchen. Ruiz Foods has grown to over 3,500 team members across facilities in California, Texas, and South Carolina. And we’ve expanded beyond enchiladas to burritos, chimichangas, taquitos, tamales, quesadillas, breakfast burritos, and more!

It’s taken decades of perseverance and lots of hard-working folks to deliver America’s No. 1 frozen Mexican food to hungry American families. Here are some of the highlights of our journey.


A Father and Son Team … and a Dream.
Fred Ruiz was a college sophomore when his father, Louis, suggested selling frozen Mexican food to local families. And, so, Ruiz Foods began in a small warehouse in Tulare, California, with two employees, a few appliances, and Grandma Rosie’s recipes for enchiladas, burritos, and tamales.

"I have fond memories spending time with my Grandma Rosie. She was an amazing woman and I loved hearing her share memories about the early days of the company. I particularly remember her telling me how important it is for moms to be able to trust what we make. 'It’s your reputation' she would say."
~ Kim Ruiz Beck

First Time El Monterey® Available in all 50 States.
Throughout the 1970s, Ruiz Foods hit a number of ‘firsts’ … our first in-house tortilla bakery, our first 18-wheeler, and, then, the first time El Monterey® products became available in all 50 states!

"It was an amazing time with plenty of ups and downs but my dad always had the ability to stay focused. I’ll always remember dad saying, ‘Working harder means working smarter’. It’s his expression and one I’ve tried to pass along to my kids."
~ Kim Ruiz Beck

Small Business Persons of the Year.
An honor … a privilege … a lifetime memory. In 1983, Fred and Louis received the U.S. Small Business Persons of the Year Award from President Ronald Reagan in the Rose Garden of the White House.


A New Home in Dinuba, California.
To position ourselves for future growth and innovation, it was time to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and distribution warehouse. Little did we know it would be the first of several facilities strategically located throughout the United States.

"Over the years we moved multiple times … each time adding necessary production or freezer space. It was time to build our own facility to include a true materials flow and a dedicated R&D Department."
~ Fred Ruiz

A Passion for Making a Difference.
Ruiz Foods team members founded Ruiz 4 Kids® to inspire hope and change in children’s lives. This nonprofit organization awards college scholarships to high school seniors and community college students and mini-grants to teachers who’ve developed unique learning opportunities for students.


Nike, Microsoft, and Ruiz Foods.
In May 1992, Ruiz Foods joined Nike, Inc., Microsoft Corporation, Winnebago Industries, Inc., and other great American success stories in the Small Business Administration’s Hall of Fame.


A President’s Visit.
On the company’s 40th birthday, we were honored by a visit from President George W. Bush. In just under a week, the Dinuba facility was transformed to host over 1,500 team members and guests.

"It was a very special day, not only for our company and the community of Dinuba but for our team members who not only felt special, but honored by the President’s visit."
~ Fred Ruiz

Expanding Beyond California.
To maintain pace with consumer demand for Ruiz Foods brands, we acquired a facility and distribution center in Denison, Texas.

"We knew an expansion was necessary to our growth and our future and this opportunity in Denison would solve our need for capacity and our commitment to customer service."
~ Fred Ruiz

Celebrating 50 Years.
We celebrated 50 years in business with fiestas for our team members and at many of our key customers’ offices.


An East Coast Expansion.
Affirming our commitment to delivering authentic Mexican food to Americans nationwide, we completed our coast-to-coast footprint by acquiring a manufacturing facility in Florence, South Carolina.

"We believe our tradition of commitment to customer service, our team members, and the community will be a natural fit in Florence, South Carolina."
~ Kim Ruiz Beck