“I got bored,” Ahmad said. “Sure, it was nice at first. We traveled, but I needed something to do.” So after three years away from the business, Ahmad has come out of retirement to open Numero Uno Taqueria in Brentwood.
Elvira said she and her husband would often take walks near the shopping center at the corner of Balfour Road and John Muir Parkway, and it wasn’t long before Ahmad started talking about opening a restaurant.
“When we passed by, he’d always mention that the location would be the perfect spot for a taqueria,” Elvira said. “It’s a nice spot near a residential area with lots of families. And as we’d walk, I’d think, ‘Oh no! We’re doing that again?’ but he loves coming in early to make sure that everything is fresh. This is what he loves.”
The couple established the first Numero Uno Taqueria in 1989 and went on to own seven over the years. They opened a location in Antioch in 1995, which one of their daughters now owns. Their other daughter owns the locations in Martinez and Lafayette.
Prior to opening taquerias, Ahmad and Elvira owned a series of delicatessens throughout San Francisco and Berkeley, but they decided to switch gears and open a place where they could use unique family recipes.
“We are a family business,” Ahmad said. “We make everything fresh. We make our salsas, guacamole, tortillas and chips. Nothing comes from a can and we don’t microwave anything. We use our own recipes to offer customers the best quality.”
Elvira said they grill their chicken, beef and pork to cut the amount of fat in the meats, and they never cook with lard. “We want to offer healthy meals that are affordable. We could save time and money if we got stuff that came in cans and jars, but that takes away from the quality of the flavor. We are dedicated to offering the best food at economically friendly prices. We prepare everything fresh daily and that is why we have developed a loyal following.”
The Brentwood location has been open only since the first of March, but Elvira said customers of their other restaurants have managed to find them. “Just this weekend, we had a customer come in whom we knew from our Martinez location. He’d moved to Brentwood a few years ago, and he was so happy to see that we’ve opened here. People know us from the Antioch restaurant, too, but we are seeing a lot of new faces.”
While the menu is similar at the other Numero Uno Taquerias, the Brentwood location is home to the sautéed mixed vegetable burrito. This new culinary delight is a traditional vegetarian burrito with refried beans, rice, cheese and salsa, but it also includes sautéed zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers and broccoli.
Other popular menu items include breakfast burritos, tostadas and quesadillas, which come with soft or crispy shells.
Numero Uno also offers a dining card for regular customers. After you purchase 10 burritos, you get the next one free. Ahmad and Elvira also cater events for all occasions.
“This is what we love to do,” Ahmad said. “We love to serve the public, and we love to see that people are happy when they are eating our food. We provide a quality service and we are glad to see that people appreciate it.”
Numero Uno Taqueria, located at 2261 Balfour Road, Suite C, is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, call 925-240-5600.