FULLERTON, Calif. — This isn’t just any tostada it is Kobe Bryant's tostada. It's a dish El Camino Real in Fullerton is famous for—eaten by their most famous customer.

“He was a star, but he said, 'Treat me like a regular customer,' so we make it like a regular customer,” said general manager Rodolfo Garcia.


Garcia mentions this over and over about Bryant. He just wanted to be treated like everyone else coming in for a good meal.

“He loved the tostada,” he said.

He waited in line, ordered up at the front, and often sat beside fans. Garcia said he always saw Bryant signing autographs and saying hi.

But sometimes when it was really busy, he chose the table where the employees ate their meal, all the way in the back in the storage room to not draw attention.

“He came through our employees table and when he wanted to eat peacefully. He came with us and ate at this table,” Garcia said.

When the NBA star walked in that door, he was considered a community member, a husband, a father. He would sit there with his family to enjoy some Mexican eats.

“We saw his human being side. He was nice, friendly, and that is what we saw him [as],” Garcia said.

Bryant quickly became a regular at El Camino Real when he began dating his then girlfriend Vanessa who had been coming to the restaurant for years. She introduced him to this local Fullerton spot.

“She said, ‘I wanted to tell him how good Mexican food is,” Garcia said.

As they got married and their family grew, the Bryants continued to come in and treated the staff like family. Bryant even spoke Spanish to all the workers.

“They give you hugs. ‘The Mexican man’ he said. We would laugh because he would say, ‘I am Mexican like you guys,’” Garcia said with a smile.

Now with the sad news of Bryant's passing, the staff will miss seeing him walk through the door.

“We will feel sad. He will be always in our heart,” Garcia said.

A piece of him will always be at El Camino Real for anyone who wants to hold on a little tighter and remember the legend gone too soon.