El Rey Cantina is located in the heart of Downtown Camarillo, right off the freeway making it a go to pit stop for any occasion… breakfast, lunch, or dinner and it’s always bustling!
During the day, El Rey is a family orientated restaurant and then in the evenings it transitions into the “local watering hole” that hosts a number of events over the weekend…including live bands, DJ’s, karaoke, movie nights, and my (Keegan Carrico, the Marketing Director at El Rey) personal favorite, college night. Many from CI’s surf team and club attend the events at El Rey, which is ultimately how the relationship between to local surfers and cantina began.
The CSUCI surf club & team is an organization that has been growing exponentially over the past couple of years, competing in the National Scholastic Surfing Association and actually winning State Championships in 2016!
The club not only competes internationally, but continually focuses on community engagement. In the past, members have paired with the Surfrider Foundation for beach cleanups to spread environmental awareness, as well as hosting fundraisers with our local surf shop and main sponsor Revolution Surf Co.
El Rey Cantina has recently changed ownership and as a family owned business, has sought to become more involved within the community. Therefore, El Rey Cantina and the CI Surf Club combined forces, collaborating on new and improved ways to give back to the community of Camarillo. This took form of a toy drive during the entire month of December. The restaurant offered a free appetizer or drink to anyone that brought in a toy, which turned out to be a HUGE success! El Rey Cantina garnered over $300 worth of toys and donated them to the salvation army, which were then distributed to several underprivileged families in Oxnard (a neighboring town). It was a beautiful example of a student run organization pairing with a small family owned business to benefit the community.
El Rey also takes great pride in their food as the menu aims to resemble homemade mahican cuisine. The Head Chef and Kitchen Supervisor, Eliseo Martinez Pedraza (affectionately known by the locals as !CHEO!) makes sure of this, as he crafted the menu himself (personal favorites include the Farmers Market Burrito, Fajitas, & Camarones El Diablo).
In addition to Cheo’s well-known mastery in the kitchen, the Cantina has Justyn Varvais, Lead Bartender and General Manager. Justyn is not your average GM, as he spends the majority of his time either in the water surfing or at his place of work, El Rey, where you can truly see that he loves what he does. It is apparent that El Rey is more than a job to him as he has created an environment for his staff and customers that make them feel like family. Justyn is known to serve drinks to the locals all day, then after hours, sit at the bar and enjoy a cold one alongside them. He is a real stand up guy! If you’re from out of town and stop in, ask for Justyn or Cheo, tell them it’s your first time… or third… it really doesn’t matter… they’ll take care of you!
Tuesday’s – Taco Tuesday
Thursday’s – the college kids take over “College Night”
Friday’s – Karaoke
Saturday’s – Live Music
Keegan Carrico’s favorite time to go to El Rey is Saturday evenings, for some live music after a marathon session at Cstreet …. 4 Asada Tacos, an ice cold goblet of refreshing COORS LIGHT.