The brother-sister duo who owns and operates Tacos Los Altos, a new Mexican restaurant in downtown Hillsborough on W. King St., keeps family at the forefront.
Graciela and Jose Olivares know how to sell tacos, as evidenced by the popular Hillsborough taco truck, also named Tacos Los Altos, which the pair have been running since 2016. But the Olivares family also knows how to make family-sized platters of breakfast, lunch and dinner, and that’s what they plan to do at their new non-mobile restaurant space.
The goal is to serve good food in a warm, family atmosphere, while also having time to spend with their children.
“Running a business is not easy and food is demanding — we’ve been spending Tuesday through Saturday running the food truck from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. for two years,” Graciela Oliveras said. “We want breakfast to be our main meal at the restaurant so that we can spend time with our families, our kids.”
The restaurant’s space has been open for going on three weeks, with a cozy dining room with handmade tables and chairs and a bright, airy kitchen. The menu is expansive — ranging from pancakes to enchiladas —
and the space is open for breakfast until noon every day, lunch until 3 p.m. every day and dinner on Friday, Saturday and Sunday until 8 p.m.
The highlight of the menu is its array of breakfast offerings, including pancakes with sides of perfectly salted fried potatoes. Omelettes are exceptionally colorful dishes, with filling options such as sautéed mushrooms, sausage and greens and topping options such as generous slices of avocado. Meals are complete with fresh-squeezed orange juice, available every day.
“We’ll have the same salsa, same beans, same flavors here as the truck,” Jose Olivares said. “But the truck was grab-and-go and here we can make platters for families and American and Mexican breakfast options. We can be creative and play with the recipes.”
The opportunity to rent and renovate the space was given to them by a property owner downtown, who saw an article about the family’s taco truck in the News of Orange in 2017 and offered a location that would be ready in 2019. The family spent six months renovating the building, and has hired two employees to run the taco truck while they devote their time to their new dine-in experience.
The last few weeks have been a bit slow, but the family remains hopeful that the venture will take off after a period of customer growth, much like their experience two years ago with the taco truck.
“It’s been slow so far, and we’d like to get the word out more,” Graciela Olivares said. “The taco truck became popular because we got a few regular customers and then they told friends and people learned about us, so hopefully the same will happen here.”
Hillsborough Town Commissioner Evelyn Lloyd owns Lloyd’s Pharmacy next door to Tacos Los Altos. She has sampled the restaurant’s nachos and tea over the last few weeks of business.
“They’re very nice and I’d like to see them do well and not pull out of here,” she said. “People want something affordable for breakfast and lunch and this place is a different feeling from [Bandito’s Mexican Cafe], so I think both restaurants can have a good place in the downtown area. And, I have to say, they have great tea.”
Looking ahead, the Olivares family plans to continue promoting the stationary Tacos Los Altos, showing customers a new side of their business that focuses on homemade breakfast food and family time.
“We love breakfast, and there aren’t many places in Hillsborough to get a good breakfast,” Jose Olivares said. “Overall, it’s just a good feeling being able to work with our family here —mom, dad, my sister, everyone in the restaurant.”