The Tradition of Tortilla Ladies at Cafe Coyote

Among the many attractions that draw visitors to the bustling Cafe Coyote, one stands out as a cherished tradition: the Tortilla Ladies. These skilled artisans, with their deft hands and time-honored techniques, prepare and cook fresh tortillas right on the sidewalk, offering patrons a taste of Mexico’s culinary heritage in the midst of a lively street scene.

Preserving Tradition:

The practice of making tortillas by hand dates back centuries in Mexican culture, representing not only a staple food but also a cherished tradition passed down through generations. At Cafe Coyote, this tradition is celebrated daily as the Tortilla Ladies carry on the artistry and skill of their forebears. Amidst the hustle and bustle of Old Town San Diego, they provide a glimpse into a bygone era, where simplicity and craftsmanship were paramount in the culinary world.

The Art of Tortilla Making:

Watching the Tortilla Ladies in action is a spectacle in itself. With practiced precision, they knead the dough, shape it into small balls, and deftly press them into thin rounds using traditional wooden tortilla presses. The rhythmic slapping of dough between their hands is a testament to their expertise, as they effortlessly transform simple ingredients—corn, water, and a touch of salt—into golden discs of perfection.

A Sensory Experience:

As the tortillas sizzle on the hot stove, their enticing aroma fills the air, tantalizing the taste buds of passersby. The crackle of the cooking tortillas and the sight of steam rising from their surface create an immersive sensory experience, drawing hungry onlookers closer to witness the magic unfold. For many, it’s not just about enjoying a meal but also about connecting with the rich tapestry of Mexican culture woven into every bite.

Serving up Tradition:

Once cooked to golden perfection, the freshly made tortillas are served hot off the griddle, ready to be enjoyed with an array of traditional fillings and accompaniments. Whether folded into tacos, rolled into burritos, or simply savored on their own, each bite is a tribute to the timeless artistry of the Tortilla Ladies and the flavors of Mexico’s culinary heritage.

Community and Connection:

Beyond the delicious food they produce, the Tortilla Ladies embody the spirit of community and connection that defines Cafe Coyote and the Old Town San Diego experience. Their presence on the sidewalk not only adds to the vibrant atmosphere but also serves as a focal point for interaction and camaraderie among locals and tourists alike. In sharing their craft with the world, they foster a sense of unity and appreciation for the traditions that bind us together.

In the heart of Old Town San Diego, amid the colorful adobe buildings and bustling streets, the Tortilla Ladies of Cafe Coyote stand as guardians of a culinary tradition that transcends time. With each tortilla they prepare and serve, they offer more than just a meal—they offer a taste of history, a connection to the past, and a vibrant celebration of Mexican culture. So, the next time you find yourself strolling through Old Town, be sure to stop by Cafe Coyote, where the aroma of fresh tortillas and the warm smiles of the Tortilla Ladies await, ready to whisk you away on a culinary journey through the streets of Mexico.


  • Mon-Thu: 11am-9pm
  • Fri: 8am-9pm
  • Sat: 8am-10pm
  • Sun: 8am-9pm

Phone – (619) 291-4695

Address – 2461 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110