After dedicating nearly 43 years of quality Mexican cuisine to Temple City, Casa del Rey’s owner, Art Rey has decided to close the doors.
Written by NATALIE JIN, Editor-in-Chief/ Published January 20, 2014
As mom-and-pop shops closed down with the downturn of the economy, Casa del Rey was one of the few withstanding family-owned businesses on Las Tunas Drive.
However, in recent years, slow business has affected the restaurant, and last December, Art Rey, the son of founders, Alicia and Guillermo Rey, decided to close the original Temple City branch.
“Letting this branch go was a hard decision, but we are going to consolidate the branches into the Sierra Madre restaurant,” Rey says. “I grew up here. I started working here since I was 14.”
The Rey’s founded the family restaurant in 1971, and for four decades, have been serving the people of Temple City quality, lard-free Mexican cuisine. The Rey’s take extreme pride in the quality of their food, using the freshest produce and providing daily fresh-made salsa and chips.
The quality of the restaurant’s food is not compromised by its taste. Casa del Rey receives accolades from many who do give the restaurant a try.
Temple City resident Erica Wang says, “I’ve never really tried Casa del Rey until I heard they were closing, and I don’t eat Mexican food often. But now that I have, I’m quite sad that they’re closing.”
However, as the demographics of Temple City slowly changed within the last decade, the shops on Las Tunas have changed as well. Slowly, local mom-and-pop shops have gone out of business, replaced by boba (an Asian tea with tapioca drink) houses and Chinese cuisine, demonstrating the gradual movement of the Asian community to Temple City.
Rey notices the cultural transformation on Las Tunas Drive, and suggests that the demographics have also affected Casa del Rey’s business.
“I think the demographics have changed the last 10 years, and that does have an impact on our business” Rey says, noting the gradual trickling in of the Asian population and Asian-geared food chains on Las Tunas Drive. “Mom-and pop-shops like ours just aren’t as popular anymore.”
After Casa del Rey closes this February, the restaurant lot will be remodeled into a Japanese sushi bar.
The original Temple City location will remain open until Valentine’s Day weekend.
Those who miss Casa del Ray’s Mexican cuisine can visit their Sierra Madre location at 31 N Baldwin Ave, Sierra Madre, CA 91024.