South Tucson’s El Torero Restaurant temporarily closed earlier this week after owner Brad Hultquist suffered a brain aneurysm, according to his brother and business partner Mike Hultquist.
Mike Hultquist on Friday said he expects to reopen the restaurant at 231 E. 26th St. in January.
Hultquist said his brother was hospitalized and was expected to undergo surgery on Friday. No further details on Brad Hultquist’s condition were available.
Brad Hultquist took over El Torero in 1976 from his aunt Adelina Borgaro, who founded the restaurant in 1957 in South Tucson’s bustling Mexican restaurant district. She was open for several years before her sister, Carmen Maria Borgaro Hultquist, bought Lerua’s Fine Mexican Food on East Broadway in 1961.
Mike Hultquist runs Lerua’s, which is expected to close in late January to make way for the city of Tucson’s Broadway street-widening project.
El Torero is one of the longest-running Mexican restaurants in the South Fourth Avenue area, where some family-owned restaurants are on their third and fourth generations.
In recent years, though, the restaurant has struggled beneath the weight of road work that cut off access to Interstate 10 from 2007 to 2009 and road work along South Fourth Avenue.
The area was also hit hard by the 2008 recession. Some business leaders say recovery is still lagging behind other areas of Tucson.
Hultquist said El Torero also has been hurt by the family’s 34-year tug of war with the city over the proposed Broadway expansion that will ultimately close Lerua’s.
The city and the family last week came to an agreement that will pay the family more than $600,000 for the Lerua’s building and give them until late March to remove all of their equipment and belongings before the city demolishes the building.
Hultquist said he will keep Lerua’s open until late January, which will give him 60 days to clear out of the property.