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Francisco Ramirez, Owner of Pioneering East L.A. Tortilleria La Princesita, Dies at 64

Author >melissapamerktla

In the competitive world of East Los Angeles tortillerias, where entrepreneurs fight for customers block by block, Francisco Ramírez and his towered above them all.

The native of Cuernavaca, Mexico, sold to restaurants years before his rivals. His earthy, dark-yellow corn and fluffy flour tortillas became the base for hundreds of tacos and burritos across the Southland. And Ramírez also encouraged his children to modernize the family business, ensuring it a place in Southern California’s recent tortilla renaissance.

Ramírez died Saturday of a heart attack, according to his family. He was 64.

La Princesita dates back to 1972, when Ramírez took control of his brother’s struggling tortilleria at 18. Supermarkets didn’t stock tortillas in those days, and the Northgates and Vallartas of today were still a decade away. So Ramírez initially made his money selling only from his storefront, on what was then Brooklyn Avenue but is now Cesar E. Chavez Avenue.

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