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Entrance - El Cholo Cafe, Pasadena, CA
El Cholo Main Dining Room - El Cholo Cafe, Pasadena, CA
El Cholo Colorado Patio - El Cholo Cafe, Pasadena, CA
Patio - El Cholo Cafe, Pasadena, CA
Staff - El Cholo Cafe, Pasadena, CA

El Cholo Cafe

4.1
4.1
940 Reviews
$30 and under
Mexican
It all started back in 1923 in a small storefront in downtown Los Angeles. 95 years later and 5 generations later El Cholo has become synonymous with Mexican food all over Southern California.

Our Pasadena venue opened in 2000 and is at the Paseo Mall within walking distance of the Civic Auditorium and Convention Center, overlooking Colorado Blvd.
The menu consists of classics dating back to the original menu along with an array of more modern dishes showcasing the different regions of Mexico.

Four private rooms that can accommodate parties from 40-100 that allows our valued guest a memorable experience no matter the occasion.

Most famously known for our Margaritas and a menu featuring over 150 Tequilas. Both of our bars offer a comfortable environment allowing our guest to relax enjoy their experience.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 8 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Additional information

  • Dining style
    Casual Dining
  • Price
    $30 and under
  • Cuisines
    Mexican, Latin / Spanish, Spanish
  • Hours of operation
    Tue–Thu, Sun 11:30 am–9:00 pm Fri, Sat 11:30 am–10:00 pm
  • Phone number
    (626) 795-5800
  • Payment options
    AMEX, Discover, Mastercard, Visa
  • Dress code
    Casual Dress
  • Executive chef
    Jorge Degales
  • Catering
    El Cholo caters off-premise in addition to delivery to your home or office in the San Gabriel Valley and surrounding areas. Please call our catering division at 626-795-5800 ask for Diego Fernandez or email him at diego@rmgroupllc.net.
  • Private party facilities
    Parties from 25 to 120 for private events offered in 4 of our semi private dining rooms and patios. In addition to that El Cholo Pasadena can also can accommodate parties up to 250 in an adjacent courtyard to our patio. We feature a full bar with over 150 Premium Tequilas.
  • Private party contact
    Diego Fernandez: (626) 376-3701
  • Neighborhood
    Pasadena
  • Cross street
    Garfield Ave. and Colorado Blvd.
  • Parking details
    Parking in The Paseo Colorado parking structures. Additional parking in the Marengo parking structure on the corner of Green St. and Marengo Validation available. First 90 minutes FREE
  • Additional
    Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Delivery, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Happy Hour, Indoor Fireplace, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

What 940 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.1
4.1 based on recent ratings
  • 4.1Food
  • 4Service
  • 4.2Ambience
  • 3.8Value

NoiseModerate

Loved For

  • Pasadena

    Kid-friendly

  • Pasadena

    Good for groups

  • Pasadena

    Healthy

940 Reviews
  1. DavidW

    Los Angeles

    9 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on February 25, 2024

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 2
    4. Ambience 4
    Their tableside guacamole is always delicious, I think many people tend to order the same favorite thing but El cholo has a menu that’s worth exploring because many of the things don’t appear on a typical Mexican food restaurant. Sadly the service recently was very hidden mess we had two different servers come to our table asking about drinks and we’re ready to order so maybe it was just that night or where we were sitting

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  2. JerryG

    Los Angeles

    7 reviews

    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on February 25, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    $$$ great atmosphere low noise level food was great. Service was great price of food on the high side. margaritas were 100% great

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  3. BadExperience

    Sacramento

    10 reviews

    4.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on February 23, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    We were seated at 1 PM on a Thursday. The restaurant was all but empty. My salad was excellent but our #2 entrees were way below standard and failed to meet expectations. We’ve been here before and always had much better food.

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  4. PRtheCook

    Los Angeles

    39 reviews

    5.0

    39 reviews

    Dined on January 30, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Really awesome casual restaurant. The green corn tamales were amazing as always and their margaritas are great. I tried the cochinita pibil and it was first rate—tastes like the Yucatán!

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  5. yntbom

    Los Angeles

    171 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    171 reviews

    Dined on January 13, 2024

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 4
    The restaurant manager (?) was very good about giving us a table outside by a warmer to accommodate my elderly mom. We all loved our food. The chips were a bit dry and it would be great if they had green salsa for dipping too. The waiter was friendly but took a long time to bring us our check.

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  6. OpenTable Diner

    Washington DC

    1 review

    1.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 1, 2024

    1. Overall 1
    2. Food 1
    3. Service 1
    4. Ambience 1
    Soup came out cold. We asked for a new one. They put the entire thing in the microwave, which made the tortilla chips soft. The service was very slow. A lot of the fixtures even on the table had a lot of dust. The food taste and quality was overall poor. The tacos were cold. I would not go back there again. 

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  7. OpenTable Diner

    Atlanta Metro

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 1, 2024

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 5
    Very authentic! Great food. Lots of flavor and price was good

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  8. Marcia

    Los Angeles

    12 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    12 reviews

    Dined on December 31, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 4
    It was a great pick. We loved our time there. So friendly and food was great.

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  9. Lucky13

    Los Angeles

    267 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    267 reviews

    Dined on December 25, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 4
    An old faithful and a family tradition for Christmas Eve at this point. Food, margaritas and such were reliable as always. Tableside guacamole was spectacular, and I know my Chile Colorado (on menu since 1923), and my son's chicken tacos were terrific. But service was a bit odd this time, in all ways. Two hosts seemed confused by our entrance, and while everyone was extraordinarily nice, the timing seemed off. Server seemed challenged by drink orders first and then delivering the drinks. Nothing spilled, but it seemed precarious. Bus boys couldn't wait to remove plates, sometimes without even asking. We were by no means the last ones in the place, and I understand it was Christmas Eve, but if you don't want to be open that night, then don't be. That said; we still had a good time, and food was still good, and we will most likely be back next year.

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  10. Jingleweed

    Los Angeles

    9 reviews

    4.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on December 20, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 5
    Great food and margaritas, nice venue with great bar

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  11. FrankM

    Los Angeles

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 16, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Very friendly and accommodating staff. I asked the waiter if they could make me a Chile, Riano burrito, with rice, and beans. It wasn’t on the menu, but he said he would have it made for us. I gave it to my uncle who loves these types of burritos, and he loved it! Thanks to the staff and the cooks at El Cholo Restaurant.

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  12. OpenTable Diner

    Los Angeles

    6 reviews

    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on December 11, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    We had a great dinner! Your staff was doing a great job. I think they were a little understaffed. A couple things were slow to get to us but not because the staff was not trying as hard as possible. The food was great. Thanks so much.

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  13. Daisy20

    Los Angeles

    18 reviews

    3.0

    18 reviews

    Dined on December 11, 2023

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 2
    4. Ambience 2
    Disorganized service. No one seemed to know what was going on. Food was mediocre. Disappointing

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  14. nancyn

    Central Coast

    15 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    15 reviews

    Dined on December 5, 2023

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 3
    I have been going to various El Cholo locations ince 1971. From Los Angeles to Pasadena. And I am sorry to observe that it has really gone downhill, at least in Pasadena. Food was marginal. Service was inattentive. It was a very disappointing experience.

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  15. OpenTable Diner

    Los Angeles

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on December 4, 2023

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    The service was wonderful, our waitress was very attentive and the chips and salsa keep in coming. The food was just ok, I ordered the carnitas plate and the meat was bland and the rest of the food not hot enough, my partner got the chimichanga plate it was good but nothing out of the ordinary. The rose margarita was mostly sweet added lemon to it to cut the sweetness. I haven’t been to El Cholo in over 20 yrs (the western location) kinda sad that it’s not as wonderful as I remembered

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  16. JoanneL

    San Diego

    9 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on December 2, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    El Cholo is currently festively decorated for the holidays. Server Rebecca always provides outstanding service with a smile and great attitude. Tasty food and drinks.

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  17. AdrianaR

    Los Angeles

    13 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    13 reviews

    Dined on December 2, 2023

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 3
    Only problem we had was when a Chile Relleno was ordered and came without the chile. It was 99% egg and cheese. There was only ONE sliver of pepper that was 3” long by 1” wide. The wait staff claimed this is the way the El Cholo restaurants make chile relleno but my mother in law had just eaten the same entree at the Santa Monica El Cholo location, where it was made more traditionally and as one might expect - the whole pepper was stuffed (hence “relleno”) then battered and fried.

    1 person found this helpful

  18. RenayP

    Hawaii

    7 reviews

    4.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on November 18, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 4
    Very enjoyable meal before attending the David Sedaris show at the Civic Center. We were able to sit in the (heated) outdoor patio and received great service. Although my tamale was a bit heavy on the masa, the filling was delicious - it was part of a combination platter that included a cheese enchilada. Having gone to the downtown El Cholo many times, our Pasadena experience didn't disappoint. Would definitely recommend!

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  19. LeChatNoir

    Los Angeles

    8 reviews

    1.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on November 8, 2023

    1. Overall 1
    2. Food 2
    3. Service 2
    4. Ambience 1
    I have always enjoyed El Cholo at other locations. I took two friends for a birthday lunch and it was a DISASTER. First of all, the fire alarm kept going off throughout our meal. Apparently, the restaurant was having issues with the system. It was really loud and distressing. The waitress apologized, but the manager didn't come out to the dining room and apologize for ruining our day out. The food was barely edible. My tacos were mostly lettuce. I won't be going back.

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  20. 2regulars

    Los Angeles

    102 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    102 reviews

    Dined on November 5, 2023

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 4
    They were very busy & we noticed the manager was out helping the servers, that is a good manager! The food and drink were up to expectations

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  21. Adrian

    Los Angeles

    7 reviews

    3.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on November 2, 2023

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 3
    Lacked some atmosphere but all in all a good spot.

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  22. cameronw

    Las Vegas

    2 reviews

    4.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on October 30, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 4
    Great tacos. Service was ok, I ran out of water a couple times but never ran out of chips, so overall service was good.

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  23. OpenTable Diner

    San Francisco

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on October 30, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 5
    Great! I have had better service there in the past

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  24. tbell61

    Los Angeles

    29 reviews

    4.0

    29 reviews

    Dined on October 8, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Always fun to dine at El Cholo especially on the patio.

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  25. PRtheCook

    Los Angeles

    39 reviews

    5.0

    39 reviews

    Dined on October 3, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    El Cholo was lively and the food was great. We had green corn tamales which are a favorite and they were also offering authentic-style chile rellenos made with poblano peppers in addition to the puffy California style with Anaheim peppers. Their Mexican rice, and black beans continue to be some of the best in LA. Our out-of-town guests loved the crab-meat dish and the table-side preparation of their excellent guacamole.

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  26. DeborahN

    Las Vegas

    2 reviews

    3.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on September 24, 2023

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 3
    4. Ambience 3
    It was a very depressing experience. The business has declined tremendously. Drinks were great , food was ok.

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  27. CeeFo

    Los Angeles

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 16, 2023

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 3
    3. Service 2
    4. Ambience 1
    Sadly, this former Pasadena institution has really gone downhill. I used to love going to El cholo when it was on fair Oaks. I was very worried when they moved to the mall because keeping up a space in a mall requires extra care. They haven't done it. The space feels messy and dirty. Walls are dirty, paint is chipped, and lights are either burned out or replaced in some sockets with random bulbs that ruin any sense of ambience the place could have. Depressing atmosphere and the food was mediocre. Really too bad.

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  28. Onecritic

    Los Angeles

    3 reviews

    4.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on September 10, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 5
    Been coming here well over 10 years. The shrimp tacos and margueritas never disappoint.

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  29. OpenTable Diner

    Los Angeles

    4 reviews

    1.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on September 10, 2023

    1. Overall 1
    2. Food 1
    3. Service 1
    4. Ambience 1
    Food was not good like it was a few years ago. Enchilada and beans were burnt and chicken in taco was dry. No host or hostess at the front desk to greet patrons. One couple left since they were waiting so long. We waited 5-7 min and a server told us someone would come and they never did. Another server told us to have a seat.

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  30. Joel

    Los Angeles

    8 reviews

    4.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on September 3, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 5
    Delicious food, waiters are very attentive, and super nice atmosphere. Plus it’s all at an affordable price.

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  31. OpenTable Diner

    Pittsburgh

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on August 23, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Incredible service and food!

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  32. ChristopherB

    Orange County

    5 reviews

    1.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on August 22, 2023

    1. Overall 1
    2. Food 1
    3. Service 1
    4. Ambience 1
    They accepted my reservation on Opentable for a business lunch and when we arrived the restaurant was closed for a special event.

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  33. JanD

    San Francisco

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on August 19, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 5
    Excellent food! Table side guacamole was made to order & delicious. Margaritas were perfect as was the service. Nice to know quality at El Cholo’s has remained top notch!

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  34. ChrisL

    Los Angeles

    5 reviews

    1.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on August 13, 2023

    1. Overall 1
    2. Food 1
    3. Service 2
    4. Ambience 2
    Horrible!!! So disappointing. Bordered on inedible.

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  35. OpenTable Diner

    Orange County

    14 reviews

    5.0

    14 reviews

    Dined on July 29, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 5
    4. Ambience 4
    Had a great time and food was delicious, but I wish my beer was colder.

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  36. StephanieE

    Los Angeles

    2 reviews

    4.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on June 23, 2023

    1. Overall 4
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 4
    The food was great. The service was friendly. Smiles all around!

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  37. CaseyL

    Los Angeles

    10 reviews

    3.0

    10 reviews

    Dined on June 19, 2023

    1. Overall 3
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 1
    4. Ambience 4
    One suggestion I would make is disable OpenTable when you're not accepting reservations for Father's day. I acknowledge the staff did their best, but we waited 30 minutes for a table (even with a reservation) and once seated, waited another hour for food. The food was good for the value.

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  38. susans

    San Francisco

    3 reviews

    vip
    2.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on June 11, 2023

    1. Overall 2
    2. Food 4
    3. Service 1
    4. Ambience 2
    We waited over an hour to get our food and everyone else near us got served before us. They can’t handle the crowd.

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  39. AnnL

    Los Angeles

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on June 10, 2023

    1. Overall 5
    2. Food 5
    3. Service 4
    4. Ambience 5
    We were a party of 6 together for a 50th reunion. Food and drinks were great all around. We would definitely recommend and go back—if only we lived in the area! Favorite entree was the Burris Tacos…delicious!

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  40. Kathym

    Los Angeles

    5 reviews

    2.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on June 4, 2023

    1. Overall 2
    2. Food 2
    3. Service 2
    4. Ambience 2
    We have been here in the past, many times, and had good food and service. Unfortunately, the restaurant was packed due to a nearby convention. The staff was overwhelmed and unable to keep up. Service was slow and food was mediocre at best. We had made a reservation for outdoor seating and were told it would be 45 minute wait.

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FAQs

El Cholo Cafe offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (626) 795-5800.

El Cholo Cafe is rated 4.1 stars by 940 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

Make a reservation

2 people

7:00 PM


Booked 8 times today

Order delivery or takeout

Google Map for El Cholo Cafe

300 E. Colorado Blvd., Suite 214, Pasadena, CA 91101

Additional information

  • Cross street
    Garfield Ave. and Colorado Blvd.
  • Neighborhood
    Pasadena
  • Hours of operation
    Tue–Thu, Sun 11:30 am–9:00 pm Fri, Sat 11:30 am–10:00 pm
  • Price
    $30 and under
  • Cuisines
    Mexican, Latin / Spanish, Spanish
  • Dining style
    Casual Dining
  • Dress code
    Casual Dress
  • Parking details
    Parking in The Paseo Colorado parking structures. Additional parking in the Marengo parking structure on the corner of Green St. and Marengo Validation available. First 90 minutes FREE
  • Payment options
    AMEX, Discover, Mastercard, Visa
  • Executive chef
    Jorge Degales
  • Additional
    Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Delivery, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Happy Hour, Indoor Fireplace, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Phone number
    (626) 795-5800
  • Catering
    El Cholo caters off-premise in addition to delivery to your home or office in the San Gabriel Valley and surrounding areas. Please call our catering division at 626-795-5800 ask for Diego Fernandez or email him at diego@rmgroupllc.net.
  • Private party facilities
    Parties from 25 to 120 for private events offered in 4 of our semi private dining rooms and patios. In addition to that El Cholo Pasadena can also can accommodate parties up to 250 in an adjacent courtyard to our patio. We feature a full bar with over 150 Premium Tequilas.
  • Private party contact
    Diego Fernandez: (626) 376-3701
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