August 13, 2012

Photo Essay: Sanchez's Beer Bottle Chapel & Other Delights at Tio's Tacos, Riverside (Updated for 2023)

[Last updated 6/1/23 3:29 PM PT—A more recent look at Tio's Tacos can be found here. I also added an embedded video at the bottom of this post.]

People who drive between LA and Joshua Tree always complain that there's nothing to do or see in between.

Au contraire.

The Inland Empire is fascinating. Depending on whether you take the I-10 (which everyone takes and complains of), the 210, or the 60 freeways, you can encounter a variety of Route 66 commercial archaeology, old vineyards and wineries, new burgeoning breweries, as well as various bike trails, rivers, parks, speedways, citrus history, and an olive house.

Not to mention the folk art.

Behind Tio's Tacos in Riverside, there is a magical garden made mostly of beer bottles, mannequins, statues, rubber masks, and other found materials and ephemera.

There are coffee can chandeliers...

...a musical band made of robots...

...a pensive gnome...

...and a tree made out of beer kegs.

Most of the floor / sidewalk is lined with mosaic tile...

...leading to a cement and beer bottle teepee, where it rains both on the inside and out.

There is also an active chapel made of beer bottles, where various services are held...

The artist behind the garden is Tio's Tacos restaurant owner Martin Sanchez, who lives next door in a similarly-decorated home.

Nearby there are various other roadside attractions like the World's Biggest Paper Cup, which I haven't seen yet. I'm saving that for another trip.

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