Yes. We know, those are big words but we’re willing to put it out there.
For those who have lived in LA, like Ray and I, you know street tacos are a staple of life. While living in downtown we spent a lot of time visiting street vendors and Mexican restaurants in Lincoln Heights and Boyle Heights. We found the best tacos could be bought in cash, at 1 am, and be consumed sitting on the sidewalk.
When we moved to SLO we continued our taco tradition with our friend’s Tiff & Luke. We made it a point to do Taco Tuesday at a different location each time. I remember being in shock when I first heard tacos were $3-$6 a piece here and started to realize that was the norm of SLO CAL taco life. But coming from LA if I was gonna pay $3 for a taco it came with big expectations. Yes, SLO County has some pretty good tacos but we didn’t want good…we wanted STREET.
Street tacos are completely different than a normal taco. When you hold them their juices cover your hands, the napkins are so soiled you gotta get another one. True street tacos bring you back in time to late nights with friends laughing your faces off. They look simple but have a deep complex flavor. When you consume them, you know they are bad for your diet, but your taste buds tell you they are ohhh soooo damn GOOD.
So you can imagine our surprise when Chris Arzola aka “The Unknown Mexican Chef” messaged us to visit him at his pop-up opening. We had never heard of him before and we later learned Chris had just moved here from Visalia 2 months ago. He retired in 2018 as a corrections officer and due to the circumstances of life, he ended up making SLO County his new home.
Chris has been cooking for over 25 years. It all started at home in the kitchen with his mom. When he went to work he’d exchange his homemade burritos for his coworker’s frozen ones. His reasoning, “Because for me it was an everyday thing and it was unique and special for them.” With his kind gesture, word began to spread about Chris’s delicious food. It wasn’t until one day a coworker encouraged him to sell his burritos did his journey really begin. He sold 8 in less than an hour and started to realize he had something special. Chris would make his coworkers burritos at an affordable price and soon he noticed that people began waiting in line for his food and it would sell out in less than an hour.
Chris finally decided to take the leap and open his own pop-up taco spot almost two months ago! Since then the word of mouth has been spreading and lines have started to form just like they did at his workplace.
Chris caters and he does a pop up every Sunday at Los Berros Market in Arroyo Grande at 11a. He regularly sells out in an 1-2 hours. Get there early and be prepared to wait in a short line. The menu is as follows:
- Chili Verde
- Al Pastor
- Chili Colorado with Chicken
- Birria with Consomé
- Giant Quesadillas
- Rice & Beans
Make sure you follow him on IG for the latest updates. I have a STRONG feeling he might get too big for his current spot.
Chris loves to bring joy to his customers and watch their faces light up at the taste of his food. He also dreams of having his own taco truck one day. Make sure you stop by and show some support. Let’s all make this UKNOWN Mexican Chef one of the MOST KNOWN ones on the Central Coast!
Here’s where to find him:
Los Berros Market & Deli
2021 Los Berros Rd
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
Sunday’s at 11am
Let us know if you go and what you thought of it! Don’t think Chris’s spot is the BEST street taco spot in SLO County? Send us your favorite. We are always down to explore, learn, and share the good stuff.