Progresso Tamale Parlor has maintained its rich family tradition of hearty Mexican food to loyal patrons for over six decades. Established in 1939 by Aurelio and María Zúñiga, Progresso’s is truly a family business.
In the early 1920’s Aurelio and María Zúñiga immigrated to Hollister from Chihuahua, Mexico bringing with them the fine art of Mexican cooking. After spending a number of years working in the fields to support their family, Aurelio and María decided to venture into the restaurant business and started a small cafe located on San Benito Street in downtown Hollister (near where the current Bank of America is today). Their traditional cooking style demanded the use of fresh ingredients and labor-intensive preparation methods to ensure quality. Although the cooking style has evolved over sixty years to meet the tastes and expectations of the local community, the core preparation methods remain the same. We still grind our own corn for tamales and prepare each one individually by hand. All of our sauces are made from scratch. All of our meats are cooked and seasoned daily.
In the mid 1950’s, Aurelio and María passed the family business on to their sons Alfonso and Vicente. The brothers purchased and renovated the old Goodfellow Hotel and moved the restaurant to its current site. The business grew and prospered and became well known throughout the area. Wholesale operations were started and our tamales and enchiladas became a fixture in supermarkets throughout the central coast.
In 1965, Al sold his interest in the business to Vicente and his wife Josefína. Old-timers will recall Josefína cooking up a storm in the kitchen while Vicente talked it up with customers. Under Vicente and Josefína’s care and dedication to quality and customer service, the restaurant continued to gain a loyal following throughout the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas and beyond.
In the mid 1970’s, Vicente and Josefína began teaching their craft to their son Aurelio and his wife Patsy. Aurelio and Patsy expanded the menu selections, remodeled the restaurant’s interior, and added their own personal touch to the family tradition. Aurelio and Patsy ended the wholesale business and focused their attention on the restaurant and being active members of the local business community. After nearly three decades, Aurelio and Patsy passed the torch to the fourth generation of Zúñiga’s.
In 2002, the brother and sister team of Gilbert Zúñiga and Margaret Zúñiga-Healy (great-grandchildren of the founders and nephew and niece of Patsy and Aurelio) assumed responsibility for carrying on the family tradition. Gil and Margaret are committed to maintaining the family legacy while adding their own personal touch to the business. Loyal patrons can look forward to the same level of quality while being treated to some new menu selections. Some new and exciting restaurant features are also in the works for the future.
On December 23, 2016, Progresso's closed its doors and served its last customers. Hopefully one day a 5th generation family member will reopen in a different location. Never say never but for now savor the memories.