The Ultimate Guide to “Berto's” Taco Shops in San DiegoBy Darlene Horn
August 20, 2014
Long-time San Diego residents are familiar with with the “-berto’s” — the taco shops that seem to be on every corner. There’s Alberto’s Mexican Food — the king of 24-hour shops with more than 50 locations in Southern California and at least seven in the county at last count. Alberto’s is followed closely by Roberto’s, Humberto’s, Jilberto’s, Aldaberto’s, Juan Bertos and a cheeky Downtown eatery by the name of Broberto’s.
So, what’s with all the "-berto's"? According to a 2008 article in the Arizona Republic, Roberto Robledo opened Roberto’s Taco Shop in San Diego in 1964. As the family grew, so did the number of shops with the Roberto’s name. Not unlike the Ray's phenomenon in New York, imitators popped up wanting to replicate the success and name recognition of Roberto’s, appending "-berto's" to the end of any name that sounded good. In a call to Jilberto's in South San Diego, an employee explained that there was no one named Jil who owned or worked at the shop and “it’s just a name [they chose].” Same goes for Juan Bertos on Miramar Road — there’s no Juan to speak of. Check out the map below of the different -berto's variations and their response to our question, "Does a -berto's work here?" Many places dismissed our inquiry as a prank. One interesting twist: we also asked all the shops about the most popular item to order. The majority of the shops recommended their carne asada burrito.
Did we miss a "-bertos" shop? Let us know.