Ramón Sanchez might not be as familiar a name in the annals of Mexican food history as, say, Glen Bell, Larry Cano, or King Taco, but he was nevertheless a titan. His Ramón's Cactus Patch in Ontario was one of the oldest remaining Mexican restaurants in the United States, a Cal-Mex shrine that had been in business since 1938. Virtually unknown outside the Inland Empire, Ramón's Cactus Patch was a favorite for generations of Mexican-American families, a living, breathing, delicious museum. And Ramón was there right up until very, very recently–in fact, virtually up until two weeks ago, when Ramón's Cactus Patch closed its doors for good.
Sadly, Sanchez passed away last week at 99.
I cannot do proper tribute to Sanchez, so I'll direct everyone to the eulogy penned by Inland Valley Daily Bulletin columnist David Allen (one of the Southland's unheralded journalistic gems). Allen was the person who introduced me to Ramón's Cactus Patch, and I had been meaning to write a post about the restaurant and the man to spread his gospel. Unfortunately, those who never had a chance to eat there will never be able to.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Sanchez family. And we will always remember Sanchez's fabulous tacos, hard-shelled symphonies of crunch.