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Jul 6, 2011 03:33 AM

Why do so many taco joints have "berto" in their name?

It's like some secret code.

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  1. If we slog through title deeds, public financials and shell corporation after shell corporation, will we discover that they're all owned by the same clandestine conglomerate? A citywide monopoly on greasy late-night eats?


    This is why our late night restaurant options are so lousy! Everybody's been muscled out by the shadowy Berto cartel in a bid for dominance of the midnight to 4:00 AM dining scene!

    6 Replies
    1. re: Dmnkly

      Actually, if any of the Bertos are open at 4:00 AM, a friend would like to know.

      1. re: Dmnkly

        well, I'll too old to be out at 4:00 am anymore, but I was out at like maybe a quarter to 2:00 on a monday morning a few weeks back and they were open with several cars in line at the drive thru. (Juliobertos, 7th St & Glendale). I was under the assumption they were 24 hrs, but maybe just open late.

        1. re: Dmnkly

          The vast majority operate 24/7; I can think of only one that closes at night, and it's likely because the proprietors were stupid enough to open about 200 yards from a very well-established 24-hour Mexican place. Some will close the dining room at a certain hour and open it back up for breakfast.

          By the by, your friend may wish to know that Super Burrito on Scottsdale Road a little south of Indian School is pretty decent.

          1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

            Most of the signs say "Drive Thru Open 24 Hours".

        2. re: Dmnkly

          As stated, many/most/all? have the same ownership way down deep. The decision was made to add that 'berto" to make them memorable, and apparently that plan has worked.

          Now, I do not believe that I have ever dined at any, so cannot comment there.


          1. re: Dmnkly

            Quite possibly the opposite. You'll notice a number of (Blank)berto's restaurants have a sign that was altered. A good number of the non-Fili's ones started out as a Fili's, but then (from what I can tell) they dropped the franchising, changed the name on the sign just a little bit, and kept right on going.

          2. I think this is akin to asking why there are so many iterations of Ray's Pizza in NYC....

            1 Reply
            1. re: azhotdish

              Food Network did a story on that. Restaurant owners copied the name because they thought customers associated quality with the name. I'm not sure "quality" is the intended association with "Berto". I've eaten at a Julioberto, which was fine for what it was but "quality" isn't what I'd take from the experience.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. Here's a link to a 2008 Arizona Republic article, "The '-berto's' bonanza". In it, all your questions will be answered:


                3 Replies
                1. re: aricat

                  So it is pretty much like Ray's in NYC

                  1. re: aricat

                    As a San Diegan, I found that article quite enlightening! Growing up in the 80's in San Diego is when I remember the "berto" explosion. Robertos was first. Then Albertos which dominated the scene for a while. Then you had rambertos, alibertos, alertos even. But now the "berto" restaurants have fell out of favor. They all really let their food go.

                    A chain called Santanas (now MXN) exploded, but their food is terrible. El Cotixan has been my favorite for years (at least 15 or so) in one location, now they are expanding. There are also restaurants kicking up the concept one notch, so it's slightly nicer than a drive through taco shop, but still fairly cheap, and a little better tasting.

                    My question is, how do these shops make their food? San Diego style cal-mex? Even going to LA you get Mexican take out that tastes much different. Is say, a carne asada burrito just tortilla, meat, pico and guacamole? That's all I want in my burrito, no rice, no beans etc.

                    1. re: deeznuts

                      "That's all I want in my burrito, no rice, no beans etc."

                      Amen to that!

                  2. This is purely my perspective, but growing up in So Cal, the "original" chain cheap taco shop was Roberto's. After the success of Roberto's, the other "berto's" soon exploded on the market. Seemingly to take advantage of the success of Roberto's.