Founder Of San Diego's Tio Leo's Mexican Restaurants Passes Away At 91

July 31, 2020

The founder of San Diego's Tio Leo's chain of Mexican Restaurants, Leo Sciuto has passed away at 91 years of age.

"Our Tio Leo’s family got a little smaller but heaven gained an amazing angel," posted Tio Leo's owner Frank Sciuto on the company's Facebook Page. "With heavy hearts we say goodbye to our founder, Leo Sciuto. Beloved Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather, and Friend. He has touched so many souls over his almost 92 years of life; and even if you didn’t know him, maybe you celebrated birthdays, anniversaries or met your significant other at his restaurants over the past 42 years. His legacy lives on through his wife Frances, his family, and anyone who has ever shared a meal, a drink, or a dance at Tio Leo’s. We love you Leo."

Leo Sciuto  was once a nightclub owner who always wanted to open a Mexican restaurant. Although he was a full-blooded Italian, he liked the atmosphere at Mexican restaurants and loved the food. Leo eventually found a location to open his first restaurant in Mission Gorge and had a friend draw up a design for the restaurant. The friend mailed the plans in a tube and jokingly addressed it to Tio Leo, which means "Uncle Leo" in Spanish, and the name just stuck.  

Tio Leo's Mexican Restaurant was founded in 1979 and now has three locations around San Diego. The restaurants are currently open for outdoor dining and take out. Show them some love during this difficult time. For more information, visit