Otay Ranch San Diego, also known as East Chula Vista, is one of South San Diego’s newest communities. It’s a town that is perfectly manicured, crisp, clean, and makes you feel like you need to pay HOA fees just to get in. It is, in a word “modern-suburbia” as we know it. Built upon master planned streets, roads, green belts, and central business districts, Otay Ranch still has that new-car smell and is practically perfect in every way. Chula Vista, however, is one of San Diego’s oldest communities and its “town square” could be argued to be 3rd Ave. in downtown “west” Chula Vista. There is, however, no argument that the town square of Otay Ranch is Otay Ranch Mall. There’s an AMC movie theater, an R.E.I., and a Cheesecake factory, all the markings of a high-end suburban mall. Near the main entrance to this outdoor mall, however, is something that you might not expect. An authentic Tijuana style taqueria: Tacos and Tarros.
Tacos translates to tacos. Tarros translates to mugs (Of beer? Who’s to say?). Tacos and Tarros is not a fast food taco shop, nor a small taco stand. On the contrary. Tacos and Tarros is a sit down casual dining restaurant that offers the tastes of Tijuana in the comforts of Otay Ranch mall. Voted “the best tacos” in Chula Vista, the Landeros brothers are new owners of what could be considered an institute in the young town of Otay Ranch’s history. Craft Beer Tasters spoke with brothers Eduardo and Roberto Landeros, owners of Tacos and Tarros, about the restaurant, its legacy, as well as what they hope for for the restaurant’s future.
Brother Roberto Landeros asserts “I am a big believer in supporting the local economy. It may seem impossible to overcome the power and influence of corporations, but I, we, support the local economy best we can. We are doing that here at Tacos and Tarros by introducing San Diego craft beers on draft and in the bottle!
Tacos and Tarros has been a part of Otay Ranch for nearly 5 years, we took ownership about a 3 months ago, and in that time we have increased our presence by providing great customer service. Part of that customer service means listening to customers. That means we have made some changes to our food menu, our beer menu, which has resulted in a new craft beer program. We want to give the customers what they want. Maybe we will make existing customers happy with a new product, but we also want to let people in Eastlake and Otay Ranch know that they have a really great Mexican restaurant nearby that has San Diego craft beer as well. I love the satisfaction that comes with making customers happy. My passion is producing great food. When I see customers happy, that instant gratification, the smile on their face when they eat and drink something we gave them, that really drives me.”
Co-owner and Landeros Brother Eduardo Landeros added “I want to attract people that want craft beer, local beers, San Diego beer. I am trying to offer something different to the area. A lot of businesses were struggling during the recession, but our neighbors in the mall are doing well, we see more people working, earning, and spending money again. This is a very TJ/Mexican type of bar. Not the tourist conception of Tijuana, but the local TJ experience. We are seeing a lot of growth, but I am trying to bring in new people and the craft beer crowd.
We want to make something clear, we aren’t your typical “taco shop” we offer high end food made with high end ingredients. Some very unique styles like Marlin, or our New York taco that is made with shrimp and arrachera (flat steak) are some items that set us apart. We grew up in the Southbay, graduated from Montgomery High School, I went to and taught at Southwestern college and are a part of a hidden demographic. We grew up in Tijuana as well as in San Diego. We are people of two worlds, a hidden demographic that actually consists of a lot of people, just like us. That is what has made us successful. Now, we want to share our restaurant with the rest of Otay Ranch, East Lake, Chula Vista, and San Diego. We offer quality food, a cool ambiance, and excellent service. That’s what we want for ourselves and expect for our customers. We are now offering amazing San Diego craft beers, but, we also want to share our extensive list of Mexican beers with our customers, new and old.”
Starting in October Tacos and Tarros will feature San Diego based Green Flash Brewing Company as their “Craft Brewery of the Month” with $6 pint and $15 pitcher specials all month long.
I will be joining Tacos and Tarros on Wednesday 10/22/14 for a special Green Flash Beer and Taco Tasting with Dave Adams of Green Flash. It will be an evening filled with food, folks, and fun …and something Never done before in Otay Ranch!
Won’t you join us?