Jose and Betty Reyes came to Washington, DC in the early 1980s with a shared dream of settling down and building a new family life in the United States. The Reyes’ (Jose as a handyman and Betty as a Dishwasher) worked hard and carefully set their earnings aside because they had come to realize another shared dream–opening their own restaurant. Jose and Betty’s dream came true when, in 1982, they opened El Tamarindo in the city’s Adams Morgan neighborhood.
Jose and Betty wanted to create a place where not only Adams Morgan residents but also visitors who were “just passing through” could experience an amazing family-style sit-down meal with a Central American flare. With much hard work and the faithful help of family, friends, and an amazing staff, they were able to make that happen. El Tamarindo quickly became one of the city’s “go-to” places for the best Salvadoran and Mexican cuisine.
The city’s longest-standing Salvadoran/Mexican restaurant got a complete makeover in the Spring of 2016, and in 2017 Trip Advisor awarded El Tamarindo their coveted Certificate of Excellence. In 2020, Washingtonian Magazine named it one of "THE 50 MOST INFLUENTIAL WASHINGTON RESTAURANTS EVER." Just recently in September of 2021, CityPaper readers voted El Tamarindo the "Best Salvadoran Restaurant."