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Nation's Restaurant News has reported Dick Rivera is retiring as chairman and CEO of Real Mex, the Cypress-based parent company of El Torito, Chevys and other casual-dining Mexican-restaurant concepts.
Rivera's most-lasting legacy will stand with El Torito--he took a floundering franchise and improved the food from barely edible to okay, while pushing El Torito Grill to even better heights. More crucially, he welcomed back El Torito founder Larry J. Cano as an unofficial adviser, treating him with the respect the man deserves instead of a museum piece. Good luck to Rivera, whatever his next endeavor may be, whether operating another chain or hitting the links.