El Cochinito Contento restaurant in Fresno's Tower District receives national recognition

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A well-known soda company, Jarritos, and 'El Restaurante Magazine' recognized a Mexican restaurant in the Tower District.

"Carnitas, seafood, fried fish, you name it, we do everything," said El Cochinito Contento owner Martha Ortega.

El Cochinito Contento is three months away from celebrating 30 years at the exact location in the Tower District.

Martha Ortega's passion for cooking authentic Mexican food inspired her and her husband to start this journey.

Over the years, it's become a second home to many, seeing customers grow through the generations.

"And then they bring their own families. They give me hugs, and their kids know where the candy is at," Ortega said.

The genuine relationships are seen throughout the restaurant with many gifts.

"They just come in and say, Martha, I bought this," said Ortega. And when asked how that made her feel, she responded with, 'Love.'"

On the walls, you'll spot pictures with artists who tell her they will always stop for a meal when in Fresno.

All of the support resulting in countless awards over the years, including her most recent.

She won second place as the 2021 independent Mexican Restaurant Owner of the Year.

It was awarded by the fruit-flavored soda company Jarritos and 'El Restaurante Magazine,' known for featuring restaurants countrywide.

It's an award Ortega, and her husband didn't see coming.

"He goes, 'Really?' And we were all in shock. I am still in shock," said Ortega.

When reflecting on her work and dedication, she says that all she can do is thank her family and customers for standing by her side.

"I feel relieved, and I feel so grateful," said Ortega, "They've been so supportive all of these years."

Ortega says support during the pandemic has been endless and hopes to remain open for years to come.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.