El Modelo began in a three room home at 1715 2nd Street in April, 1929. One room of the house became the "factory" where Mrs. Carmen Garcia made tortillas by hand. She would get up every morning at 2:00 am and have them ready to sell for breakfast. The tortilla business proved to be successful so Mrs. Garcia hired Petra Vargas to make tamales. Eventually, Petra taught the whole family to make tamales. In 1945, Leo Garcia, Mrs. Garcia's son, returned from World War II and went into business with his mother. By 1947, Mrs. Garcia had outgrown her one room operation. She purchased two other homes, moved her family and built the present day El Modelo where the three room house once stood. Mrs. Garcia's eldest son, Salvador Garcia assisted his mother with his expansion and construction of the new building. He joined the business and oversaw the day to day operation until 1985. El Modelo was sold in 1985 to Virginia Chittim and Hector Mendoza. They jointly ran El Modelo until April, 2003. Virginia Chittim now owns and operates The El Modelo Mexican Foods Restaurant.