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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.

At El Monterey®, 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.

Like many family businesses, El Monterey® started off small. Fred would make the food every day using a small mixer and his mother’s recipes as inspiration. The food was then stored in a chest freezer in a 500-square-foot “warehouse” until Louis, who handled sales, took it out for delivery.

Louis and delivery truck

Founder Louis Ruiz stands in front of Ruiz Foods’ first delivery truck.


Today, Fred has a bit more help in the kitchen. The company has grown to 2,400 Team Members, and it has facilities in California, Texas, and South Carolina. And El Monterey® now makes more than just enchiladas…the brand offers chimichangas, taquitos, tamales, quesadillas, chile rellenos, a whole line of breakfast burritos…and more!

Fred’s daughter, Kim Ruiz Beck, is now chairman and is working together with members of the third and fourth generation of the Ruiz family…all embracing the early commitment to quality, good food, and family. Together, with the many Ruiz Foods Team Members, they’ve helped make El Monterey® the No. 1 frozen Mexican food brand in the country. As Fred’s mother used to say, “Remember what’s important, son, quality ingredients and great taste. Promise you’ll always prepare foods you would be proud to serve your family and friends at home.”