“All the workers are like family,” Castro said. “I think that makes us strong and good at what we do. When I go home, I miss the restaurant. I wonder how things are going, and I always end up coming back. I spend more time here than I do at home.”
Castro, who has been working in the restaurant business since she was 15, said what sets her restaurant apart from other local Mexican eateries is that everything served at Rosita’s is made fresh daily. Her brother Miguel, who co-owns the restaurant, arrives as early as four in the morning to begin preparations for the day, ensuring that Rosita’s serves fresh, high-quality meals.
“The taste is so important,” Castro said. “I’m Mexican, so I can tell when it’s not fresh. The freshness it what gives the food the flavor, so we make everything ourselves, from the chips and salsa to the tortillas. Everything is fresh.”
In honor of her heritage, Castro also serves Mexican specialties that aren’t common at other restaurants such as menudo and pozole (traditional Mexican soups), lengua (beef tongue) and sincronizada (tortilla sandwich with ham and cheese).
Rosita’s – Castro’s nickname, which means little roses – is also home to live mariachi music every Friday. The music is courtesy of Castro’s father Ramon, who is the band leader of Mariachi Jalisco.
Castro credits the growing popularity of her restaurant to the menu’s low prices. On average, meals are less than $7.
She also thinks Joaquin Madrigal might have something to do with her success. Madrigal is one of her regulars, and so dedicated that he makes the trip from Rio Vista to Oakley several times a week just to get a meal at Rosita’s. “This is the best food you’ll find from Pittsburg to Brentwood,” Madrigal said. “In Rio Vista, we have two Mexican restaurants and a Taco Bell, but none of it is like this. I eat out a lot because I’m single, and once I found out about this place, I couldn’t stay away.”
Madrigal has family in Oakley and said his daughter is the one who first told him about Rosita’s. He now comes down every week and brings people with him as often as he can to spread the word about his favorite new restaurant.
“I was raised on Mexican food, and this is authentic as you can get around here,” Madrigal said. “The food is fantastic, and the service is the best. Everyone is so friendly here. It feels like home.”
Castro said she’s blessed to have such loyal customers. “I was a little afraid of opening this place when I saw how the economy was going, but my family told me to go for it. They encouraged me and continue to support me. This is my dream come true and I’m so lucky to be able to share it with the community.
“These days families can’t afford to come out to eat, but when families stop by and see our prices and realize they can come here for a nice meal, it makes me feel so good inside. I have families who come up to me and thank me for offering affordable dinners, and that is what is most important to me. It makes me happy to see them happy.”
Rosita’s Mexican Grill, located at 200 W. Cypress Road in Oakley, is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call 925-679-3795.