Miguel Jara, owner of La Taqueria, poses in front of his restaurant.

Miguel Jara, owner of La Taqueria since 1973, doesn’t have a smartphone and doesn’t use the internet. So when La Taqueria was named the best burrito in the country by Nate Silver’s statistics blog FiveThirtyEight, he found out about it from his customers–and lines that stretched around the block.

“Luckily, God loved me up there,” Jara says on a recent Friday morning. “So we were ready in the sense that all my employees are really good.”

Jara grew up in Mexico and moved to the United States in 1958, when he was just sixteen years old.

“We didn’t have money to eat in Tijuana,” he remembers.

He bounced around odd jobs before building up a body shop on O’Farrell Street. In the early 70s, after several nostalgic visits back home, Jara turned his attention to his true love: tacos — one of only two Mission dishes rated by Mission Local as perfect. (The other is Chad Robertson’s bread.)

“To hell with the body shop,” he remembers thinking. “I’m going to open me a taco shop. I’m going to open me a 100 taco shops.”

Listen above to hear Jara’s story.

Ben Paviour

Reporter at Mission Local. Writer at Google.

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7 Comments

  1. America’s favorite burrito? More like a perfectly fine burrito (by San Francisco standards), that was given the title by some hipsters that don’t know the difference.

    1. Como se nota cuando a otro les arde el éxito de otros. La envidia que les corroe!!!

    2. @mikez
      So who makes a better burrito? Nobody in SF. Unless you like white rice, in which case your opinion doesnt matter.

      1. La Taqueria is fine within the closed loop of SF, but people need to learn to make tortillas up here, and ditch the foil wrappers. As for rice, my great grandma’s recipe is better than what most of the taquerias up here serve.

  2. My first place I literally head to from the bridge when returning to San Francisco. Hello Miguel!! You have welcomed me back when I return you sweet and wonderful man, and I have said the only two things I miss about living in SF are Glide and La Taqueria. Cheers mi amigo! <3

  3. Sadly, the recent fame has forced us loyal LT fans to stop eating at LT. The hipsters are there b/c someone told them to go….the rest of us have been eating tacos & burritos there forever b/c of the excellent food ….no one else in SF can touch LTs quality. I wish Miguel J would open a few other spots to spread the goodness around. How about Bernal?

  4. Not only does this hard working family make the best burritos in the world. Yes, I said world. But the love for their customers goes far beyond making comfort food for the soul. Growing up Mexican in San Jose and finding that perfect balance of consistent, great tasting and authentic food like your abuelas kitchen is what makes the casual customer become a loyal fan, which soon turns into ten friends becoming fans. La Taqueria is surely missed on 1st and Santa Clara street in San Jose. Thank you familia Jara. Your customer for life, Raul Solorio.

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