Welcome to Ray’s Drive Inn, a “Westside landmark.” Ray’s Drive Inn opened its doors in 1956, at the corner of SW 19th Street and Guadalupe Street, by Raymond H “Ray” Lopez, and now owned by Arturo Lopez and his wife, Gloria, son, John Louis, and daughter, Maria Idalia “Lali.”
Raymond the eldest and Arturo the seventh child, born to Louis and Basilia Lopez. The Lopez’s sons received their inspiration of owning a business from their parents, Louis and Basilia who opened a small fruit and grocery store in their home from 1926-1949 located at 1419 El Paso Street, near Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. While Louis worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad, Basilia operated the grocery store. “My mother was the business woman of the Lopez family” as stated by Arturo Lopez.
Raymond opened Ray’s Drive Inn by featuring free movies to the neighborhood families and serving hamburgers 5 for $1.00, delicious fried chicken, traditional fresh hand squeezed lemonade and ice-cold beer. On the weekends, Raymond featured live music by area bands including Tejano legend, Isidro Lopez “El Indio.” Ray’s Drive Inn quickly became a favorite eatery for many that live in the surrounding area, including many prominent, and military personnel.
In 1966 Arturo Lopez moved to Southern California with his wife, Gloria, and young son, John Louis. In 1977 Arturo opened “Arturo’s Puffy Tacos” in La Habra, California and now located in Whittier, California. In May 1982, Arturo agreed to purchase Ray’s Drive Inn from his oldest brother, Raymond. Raymond had one stipulation and that was that the name of the restaurant would remain “Ray’s Drive Inn” and with that Arturo commuted every two weeks from California to San Antonio, Texas to take care of his businesses.
Arturo and Gloria registered the “Puffy Taco” as their trademark. On November 3, 1992 “Ray’s Drive Inn” received the Official “Trademark” for the “Puffy Taco” and has been featured in the cable food network channel as “The Best of the Best in Mexican Food”, The Current, Conexión SA, La Prensa, Texas Monthly, and on 2013, News 4 Best of San Antonio awarded Ray’s Drive Inn the “Best Puffy Tacos Award” as well as other publications. There is also the “Henry the Puffy Taco” mascot which is seen at the San Antonio Missions baseball games and the Scorpions soccer games. Thanks to Arturo’s younger brother Henry H Lopez, owner of Henry’s Puffy Taco.
Ray’s Drive Inn still came to be the home of the Original Puffy Taco, prepared the same old fashion way and serving over 500 puffy tacos a day. So, the next time you visit a restaurant that serves puffy tacos, try one! You be the judge. We hope you will agree with us that we make the BEST PUFFY TACO.
In memory of Arturo Lopez, the Lopez Family, and all our staff, we say thank you for your business, and hurry back!