#PeopleOfWilmDE: Ricardo Ayala

Ricardo Ayala is Co-Owner and General Manager of El Toro Cantina Bar & Restaurant and has lived in Wilmington for 20 years. Read his story below as this week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE!

“I’m a first generation Mexican-American born in Los Angeles, and my family and I ended up moving to Wilmington in the early 2000s for better opportunities. Wilmington has been the foundation for myself in business and in life since then. 

I started working off at our original El Toro location located just half a block from El Toro Cantina – for a little over 10 years. Within that time frame, I was building myself up and learning the aspects of business simultaneously. Wilmington has allowed me to learn, patience, networking, social skills and fundamentals in business all while still growing personally. I’m able to take what I have learned and apply it to life now.

Three interesting facts about me are:

  1. I like riding motorcycles.
  2. I like being outdoors. 
  3. I’m a sneaker connoisseur. 

My ideal Saturday night off in Wilmington starts with dinner at Walter’s Steakhouse on Union. Next, I’d head to Constitution Yards down at the Riverfront for a few drinks and end it with a late showing of a movie at IMAX Penn Cinema.

(I also really love) Wilmington Restaurant Week. It gives me a chance to try out multiple restaurants with my fiancé’. It also allows the roles to be reversed and for me to have the true dining in customer experience. 

(This past May I) finally checked off the Wilmington Flower Market from my bucket list! 

I choose to stay in Wilmington for the opportunities in entrepreneurship, family and the endless possibilities that come around just about everyday in the way of networking, traveling, and being outdoors. Just take a look at the ‘Welcome To Delaware’ signage, Wilmington is a true gem, place of ‘small wonder’ with ‘endless discoveries’.

(I’m really excited about) real estate in Wilmington right now! The market is definitely entertaining and there’s a lot to learn.

I’d like to see more facilities for the youth focusing on progression and with real life skill sets. I’d hope to also see outlets available for men with mental health; for it not to be such a taboo and instead out there as a normalcy and encouraged. 

My advice for the people of Wilmington is to definitely check us out on our weekends for either our Mexican style brunch available 11am- 2pm or our Queso Birria Tacos con Ramen (which is available Friday – Sunday all day!) Also follow us on Instagram, and our Facebook!

Two of my proudest moments in Wilmington have been becoming a father and our ribbon cutting ceremony with Mayor Mike Purzycki commemorating our business. Being a father has its perks. It has definitely opened my eyes to experience what Wilmington has to truly offer.”

Follow El Toro Cantina on Facebook and Instagram.

To nominate next week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE, email us at info@wilmtoday.com. Read more #PeopleOfWilmDE posts here. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok.

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