Lorin "Lorenzo" left his small town of Oildale, California in 1958 at the age of 17 in order to set out after his entrepreneurial dreams. From humble beginnings working for a small wage of just five cents per hour picking strawberries, he eventually joined Cesar Chavez on his march of protest before ultimately finding his calling in the restaurant industry. Over the next seven years, Lorenzo would go on to work as a dishwasher, a prep cook, a line cook, and, eventually, as head chef. Still not satisfied, he also trained in the front of the house as a busboy, then a server, and was even promoted to management, soon specializing in coordinating large events and catering at a well-known Mexican restaurant.
During this time, Lorenzo traveled extensively throughout Mexico, and became quite passionate about Mexican culture and food. It was then that he realized his dream to share his passion by becoming a restaurateur of fresh, authentic, Mexican cuisine, providing great service at a great price to the world. Saving up every last penny that he could, Lorenzo was eventually able to purchase the tiny, 1,200-square-foot space that would become the first Little Onion in Hawthorne, California in 1969. After a few successful years, he took his family to Orange County where he opened the second Little Onion in October of 1972 here in Santa Ana. He has successfully grown the Little Onion for over 40 years.
Thanks to dedicated employees and customers that are like part of the family, the Little Onion has successfully weathered rough financial times, and celebrated many wonderful memories. Since Lorenzo's retirement in 2011, his daughter Lori has spent each day ensuring that his dream and the passionate spirit that helped create the Little Onion lives on forever. In the words of Lorenzo, "Never, ever give up." The Little Onion will never give up on making sure that we prepare and serve fresh, authentic, Mexican cuisine, and provide great service at a great price. Lorin "Lorenzo" will always be missed, but his spirit and legacy live on.
1941 - 2014
I really love how small, unique & intimate the Little Onion is compared to other Mexican restaurants i've been to. Their menu is extensive, the serves are attentive, service is quick, & who doesn't love complimentary chips and salsa? Also, the two times i went, i ordered filet de pescado al la diabla & i was not disappointed!
If you want to try their amazing food and enjoy the service you receive, you'll definitely need to make reservations, especially during lunch time! If you don't reserve, it's still worth the wait!
I love the Little Onion!
This has quickly become a regular restaurant for my boyfriend and i and we love it!
For starters the food is amazing! i'm personally sick of EI Toritio and their "fast food type" Mexican food. At the Little Onion you can taste the quality of the food and the flavors are to die for. My favorite are the steak or chicken fajitas and the churro pancakes. Also my boyfriend and i love that Little Onion now has tv's set up upstairs and has the NFL package. I personally don't like the rowdiness of a sports bar for football on a Sunday and the Little Onion does not have that at all! We get to watch our football games, enjoy great food and not have to deal with drunk idiots.
The staff is also awesome! Every time we have gone we have been treated very well and everyone is very friendly and welcoming. You definitely feel like you are part of the family when you are there.
I HIGHLY recommend the Little Onion! Don't waste your time and money at the chain restaurants - try this place and you'll be hooked!
Great happy hour, awesome place to catch a game, amazing salsa and food. I don't know what to say. Oh wait, great service too.