On my first weekend back from Costa Rica, we drove up to Riverside to celebrate my mother's 70th Birthday. She wanted to visit her father's childhood home so we all caravanned over to the old Wood Streets neighborhood. It was a cute little house on Elmwood Court. After growing up in Riverside, my grandfather, Austin DeVol, joined the U.S. Marines and flew dive bombers in World War II and fighter planes in the Korean War. Leaving the military as a Major, he then owned the DeVol Pet Center in the City of Orange until he retired.
Our family then headed over to Tio's Tacos for lunch in Downtown Riverside. The famous Mexican restaurant spreads out over a one-acre garden, filled with art installations and sculptures created from recycled items, waste material and junk by the owner and artist, Martin Sanchez. Opening the restaurant in 1990, Martin ended up buying up the entire city block to expand his art garden and cover his family home on the same property with giant sculptures. There was a long line to order at the counter but there were plenty of seats out in the garden. There was an hour long wait for the food but that was no big deal as we drank our margaritas and walked around to explore the amazing art. The food was classic Mexican taco shop style with tasty refried beans. We also had a delicious Agua Fresca from the well-stocked juice bar.
After our meal, we all went for a walk past the brand new downtown branch of the Riverside Main Library that opened in June 2021. The two-story library was built about 30 feet off the ground to allow for an arcade space under the building. Our final destination was the vintage Fox Performing Arts Theatre on the corner where my grandfather worked as an teenaged usher, earning 15 cents an hour.