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Legendary Houston Tex-Mex Restaurateur Eugene Ybarra Dies At 81

Ybarra founded El Toro in Baytown in 1960

El Toro in Baytown
El Toro/Facebook

After helping create Houston’s thriving Tex-Mex scene, restaurateur Eugene Ybarra has died. He was 81 years old.

Ybarra died after an extended battle with diabetes, reports the Houston Chronicle. The restaurateur was best known for opening Baytown’s El Toro Mexican Restaurant in 1960, along with the nearby El Matador Tortilla Factory that produced tortillas for Ybarra’s restaurants. El Toro has since expanded to six locations, including the original outpost in Baytown and restaurants in La Porte, Palestine, and Garth.

As the Chronicle notes, Ybarra’s children are all involved in the restaurant business. His children currently own and operate the El Toro chain, Ybarra’s son Russell currently owns the Gringo’s chain of Tex-Mex restaurants, and Troy Ybarra operates Johnny Tamale Cantina.

The family has not yet announced details on funeral services for Eugene Ybarra, but those are expected in the coming days.

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