Bill Castro, co-owner of El Meson, sits in his restaurant’s market area where items including jewelry and pottery can be purchased. Contributed photo by Alexis Larsen

PODCAST: Bill Castro on squid, horses and how his family has served Dayton the world on a plate for 40 years 

“What Had Happened Was” host Amelia Robinson chatted with El Meson’s Bill Castro for her latest episode.

You can lead a horse to water, but can you convince it to eat squid?

Amelia Robinson talked to Bill Castro for the latest episode of the “What Had Happened Was” podcast. 

Bill and his family have been serving the world up to Dayton for more than 40 years at their restaurant, El Meson, at 

903 E. Dixie Drive in West Carrollton. 

>> El Meson’s 40th birthday celebration continues with four more epic anniversary events

Bill talks about being raised in West Carrollton by the Hispanic Ward and June Cleaver and how his family’s business grew from a pizza joint to one that serves the tastes of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. (Yep, some dishes include squid.)

The accomplished horse rider tells Amelia how legendary Dayton Daily News food critic Ann Heller changed the game for the restaurant now located partly in the former site of a barbershop and a famed dark and dingy biker bar.

Do you remember the pork tenderloin at Pett’s? 

>> Related: What you should know about Bill Castro

El Meson got its start in 1978, under the leadership of  Bill’s parents, Herman and Gloria Castro.

Now the third generation of the family is learning the ropes and the paella from Bill’s husband, chef Mark Abbott.

>> RELATED THROWBACK: The top 10 Dayton-area restaurants of a quarter-century ago


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“What Had Happened Was” is a podcast for Dayton, powered by You won't believe the stories that come from right here. Host Amelia Robinson shares the best tales from the Gem City, Land of Funk and Birthplace of Aviation: Dayton, Ohio. 

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