Some of Navarro’s favorites include Birria ($9.95), a traditional Mexican plate of pork and beef served in a thick red sauce, and Pozole ($6.95), juicy corn served with pork, beef, lettuce, onions and radishes. Larios recommended the Double Niki’s Burger ($6.95), a double-size burger augmented by bacon and thousand island dressing.
For those seeking lighter fare, the Strawberry Green Salad ($5.95) is topped with teriyaki chicken, large bleu cheese crumbles, fresh strawberries, toasted almond slices and pita bread. Pesto lovers can try the Pesto Chicken Sandwich ($5.99) on sourdough bread with parmesan cheese and sundried tomatoes.
Diners who crave Mediterranean food can enjoy a traditional Gyro ($5.99) or a serving of Chicken Kabobs ($8.99). The Torta Hawaiiana ($5.95) makes a fun, tropical fusion impact, and young diners can order meals from the kid’s menu for $3.99. Customized dishes can be prepared on request.
“We invent the recipes; we try to do something fresh every day,” said Navarro, who enjoys creating dishes unavailable in the area, such as clam chowder served in boudin bread bowls from San Francisco. While each dish is prepared with an eye to healthy eating, Navarro and Larios also aim to keep their food affordable to people struggling in a difficult economy.
The two owners met while working at Olive Garden and began discussing the idea of owning their own restaurant. “We started talking about the service we would like to give the guests,” said Navarro. Larios, who has always been fond of Oakley, eventually found a space to rent on Main Street. He and Navarro hired Navarro’s sister, who used to cater for local government meetings when she lived in Mexico, to work in the kitchen. “My mom and my sister,” said Navarro, “are the best cooks in Mexico.”
The restaurant opened July 23, and the community’s support has been gratifying. As Navarro put it, “People who come – they keep coming back!”
Located at 3400 Main St. in Oakley, Fat Niki’s is open Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Catering and fundraising opportunities are available. Call 925-679-3036.