Leticia came to Australia from Brazil almost five years ago, wanting to perfect her English. Arriving as a student, she immediately got part-time work with El Camino Cantina at The Rocks.
“It was my first job when I arrived. I worked as a runner at the Argyle,” says Leticia.
She worked at other locations including Miranda and Manly, before finally coming to Entertainment Quarter where she is now the General Manager. EQ, with its outdoor dining area and the special vibe of the precinct, quickly became her favourite location.
“I think here at Entertainment Quarter it’s nice because most of the people – they come here to have fun, you know, they’re going bowling or arcade or Magic Mike or there’s a game [at the stadium]. So the atmosphere is a bit more, like, always fun and happy because people come into the Entertainment Quarter because they want to entertain themselves,” says Leticia.
Most of the other venues are in shopping malls or have more of a nightclub feel but the El Camino in EQ appeals to a different crowd.
“Here, a lot of families come – we have kids all the time.”
School holidays is especially busy. Younger kids love the vibrant colours, comically grotesque images, the big sombreros, and the fun pop music. The restaurant has lots of activities for them, too.
The restaurant is open from 12pm, and each day they have some sort of special deal, for instance, Tuesday is tacos day; on Wednesdays you can buy 10 cent chicken wings with any drink.
In the late afternoon they have Happy Hour and then into the evening it becomes more of an adult crowd. There are large screens on the walls that continuously play music videos and sometimes, after a few margaritas, people sing along. However, Leticia says it never gets as crazy as at other venues, and even if it starts to get rowdy, the revellers are approachable.
“I feel like people in Australia, most of them, you know, they listen to you,” she says.
On weekends it can get quite lively.
“There’s always big groups coming here, especially like birthdays, hens parties,” says Leticia. “The girls usually come before making little decorations, flowers on the table… it’s very nice.”
People also come in for a meal before or after a show or sporting event. The Mexican themed menu makes it easy and quick and there’s something most people can eat.
They also come in for the margaritas – or “ritas” – for which El Camino is famous.
Leticia finds it difficult to recommend any particular one or nominate her own favourite:
“It’s hard because the margaritas at El Camino, I think, are amazing because every month we change flavours. There’s new flavours. We have specials of the month.”
The specials are creative and quirky, and all the ritas are big and icy cold. The standards: Classic, Mango, Strawberry and Calypso Crush flavours are always available.
As for being in EQ, Leticia loves it.
“I think in EQ we’re just like a big family. Everyone works together, and if something happens, you can run next door and someone is gonna help you.”
A lot of employees from other businesses come in to have a drink and meal and Leticia visits other venues within the precinct. She’s even been go-karting with the managers.
“It’s nice to finish work and have something to do – you have the arcade, cinema, bowling. It’s just a little fun entertainment park, I feel.”
Go and say “Hola” to Leticia at El Camino here at The Entertainment Quarter