In 1988, Mirna Burciaga, an immigrant from El Salvador, purchased a small taco stand at Harbor Boulevard and Bay Street in Costa Mesa. The name of her new business was "El Chinaco" which represents a brave warrior during Mexico' independence time. Since Mirna's husband was from Mexico, she combined the stand's traditional Mexican fare with Salvadorean specialties she had learned from her mother and her grandmother. She passed out samples of her Pupusas to businesses and other potential customers in the area and people loved them. Her business started to grow and in 2001, she moved to a more spacious location a half mile away at the corner of 19th Street and Maple Avenue..

Mirna retired from the restaurant business in 2014. The new El Chinaco owners are dedicated to furthering her vision of providing healthy, fresh Mexican and Salvadorean meals to the community – food that is prepared daily using the freshest ingredients, healthful oils, and cooking methods. Accommodations are made for vegetarian diners. Salvadorean food is not spicy-hot, nor is all Mexican foods. The restaurant bases its recipes on the rich flavor of herbs and spices; traditional staples of corn, rice, tomatoes, and onions; and the freshest of meats.

El Chinaco has had many positive reviews in the media including Yelp, The Register, The Daily Pilot, Ciudad (where, in 2007, the restaurant was selected as having the very best Pupusas), and the OC Weekly.

Come and visit us, we'll love to serve you.