We sat down with two of Irvine‘s most exciting taco spots and got the down-low on their recipes for success!
Taquiero Taco Patio
Co-founders Roberto Fierro and Sean Young shared a dream to open a modern-casual Mexican style “taqueria” in the U.S. with generation-old recipes. Taquiero Taco Patio offers tortillas made-from-scratch, filled with off-the-spit meats, fresh guacamole, and vegetables all complemented by a house-made salsa bar, which features nearly a dozen salsas made fresh each day with local ingredients from different regions in Mexico.
Irvine Company Apartment Communities: Tell us a little bit about Taqueria Tacos.
Roberto Fierro: It all started with a beer between Sean and myself. Sean had recently sold a frozen yogurt business in Monterrey, Mexico, and was looking to open a business in the U.S. I had always wanted to open a restaurant across the border and I pitched the idea of authentic Tijuana-style tacos. Two days later, Sean calls me “Primo,” (“cousin” in Spanish as he is married to my cousin). “I need you to deposit X amount because I hired architects and designers for the restaurant we’re opening.” I felt it right away. I said to myself, “We are doing this!”
We then went on a “taco trip” across Mexico and scouted for the best recipes from the best taquerias in Mexico. Tijuana is renowned for its Al pastor and carne asada tacos. Yucatan has the very best cochinita pibil tacos with cucumber onions.
My other cousin Alma Fernanda Regalado, is a renowned chef from Le Cordon Bleu in Mexico City and helped us standardize the recipes and convert them to restaurant-style menu items. She currently offers online cooking classes and has been very successful.
We initially were looking for leases in San Diego, however, Sean convinced me to do a taco tour in Orange County where we immediately saw the need for authentic, fresh tacos.
My brother Orlando has been working with us since the beginning and makes the best tacos in the world. He does a little bit of everything, he can make the trompo, cook tacos, help us operationally, etc. Ramon is our manager and has been a great asset for Taquiero. We are also very proud of our Taquiero team. They do a great job delivering great quality tacos and excellent customer service. We are grateful for having every single one of our beloved employees.
ICAC: Gordon Ramsay walks into Taqueria Tacos. What do you make for him and why?
RF: I would make an al pastor mulita. The al pastor marinade has over 40 ingredients and it’s one of our main dishes at Taquiero. We cook our al pastor on “el trompo” (vertical spit) just as seen in Mexican taquerias. The mulita is basically two corn tortillas with melted crispy cheese on each one of them, served with your meat of choice in this case al pastor along with the works (avocado cream or guacamole, onion, cilantro, pineapple, and salsa). Our salsas are all made fresh every day from scratch.
ICAC: Any future plans for expansion?
RF: We currently have two locations in Irvine (4517 Campus Drive and 5643 Alton Parkway). We are about to open two more locations:
Aliso Viejo location – 22912 Pacific Park Dr. Unit B Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
South Coast Metro location – 1501 W. McArthur Blvd. Suite A Santa Ana, CA 92704
ICAC: Tell us a bit about yourself.
RF: I have lived all my life in between Tijuana and San Diego. I went to elementary school in Chula Vista. Middle and high school at a private catholic school in Tijuana (Instituto Mexico), obtained my bachelor’s from San Diego State, and completed my MBA from the University of San Diego. I worked for an insurance company in San Diego for 15 years and recently joined Taquiero full-time to be in line with my passion and dream. I am 34 years old, married five years ago to Briana, my lovely wife who has supported me throughout this amazing journey with ups and downs. Have two boys, Roberto Andre (3), Franco Alejandro (1). They have been my motivation and inspiration to keep pushing.
It hasn’t been easy at all. It was scary, especially during Covid. I would lie if I told you that being an entrepreneur is easy. I am grateful for having the best partner I could ask for in Sean. He is a great partner, cousin, and coworker. Between the two, we will make every effort to make Taquiero Taco Patio the best taco company in America!
Born From the Lime Truck
Owner and visionary Daniel Shemtob (Zagat 30 under 30 Award Winner) talks about turning his award-winning Cal-Mex truck into Orange County’s favorite brick-and-mortar store, Born From the Lime Truck, featuring tacos, burrito and poke bowls, quesadillas, and other inventive menu items made from scratch, with an organic twist.
Shemtob (Owner & Head Chef of Born From the Lime Truck) went all-in on a simple concept: deliver amazing food, use quality ingredients, make dishes from scratch, keep it healthy, and make the experience great from start to finish. Since its beginnings in June 2010, The Lime Truck has earned local and national accolades, including being the winner of Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race,” as well as Yahoo!’s “Top 10 Trucks in America.”ICAC: Tell us a little bit about Born From the Lime Truck.
Daniel Shemtob: BFTLT was founded in 2010. We quickly won best new restaurant and Top 25 by OC Weekly and OC Register and were the only food truck to ever do that. Since then we’ve kept the same message: making scratch-made food, bringing bold flavors, and having tons of fun doing it.
ICAC: Gordon Ramsay walks into Born From the Lime Truck. What do you make for him and why?
DS: We would suggest getting the taco sampler. It’s almost like a Lime Omakase. Starting with scratch-made tortillas, you can order them vegetarian or with our all-natural special proteins. We suggest all the good fixings.
ICAC: Three ingredients your restaurant can’t live without?
DS: Tomatillos, masa, and sambal.
- Gluten-free & vegan-friendly menus
- Craft beer, keg, specialty bottled wine, creative cocktails & delectable dishes
- Lunch, dinner, take-out, delivery, catering, & events
- Happy hours & Taco Tuesday specials
ICAC: Your favorite restaurant story…
DS: In our 10 years of business we have had some very special clientele, but one of my favorite memories is when we did an event for Sia and Jack Black. He started calling out orders and making fun of some of the other celebrities there who took a while to pick up their order.
In Orange County, we take our tacos seriously, from family-owned hole-in-the-wall taquerias to award-winning upscale Mexican restaurants. For more on the best of Orange County restaurants, read our article on favorite restaurants for outdoor dining or check The Irvine Standard’s dining section for foodie trends and local hotspots.