The Carmelita's story begins in 1938
Maria Carmen Gamez Llamas, on a train from Guadalajara to California met her future husband, Alberto Heredia at the age of 14. They started working together in Southern California, married five years later, and built their family as they migrated north, eventually settling in Old Roseville, outside Sacramento. The Heredias and their six children were literally living out of a boxcar, when Alberto was severely injured while working for Union Pacific Railroad. Remarkably, he was given a $10,000 disability settlement, with which he intended to return to Mexico.
Carmelita felt they had come too far to return to Mexico
So she gambled on herself, and opened a restaurant while Alberto was in the hospital recovering! That original Carmelita’s still operates today, directly across the street from where Alberto had fractured his spine.
Our Grand Opening of the Dana Point Location
That tenacity required to make dreams come true and the pride in one’s culture is also evident in Carmelita’s grandson, Marcos, and his team. When you walk into Carmelita’s Taqueria, your cultural experience begins.
The open kitchen allows the customer to see their meal being crafted from scratch.
You see the al pastor meat spinning vertically, the sauces simmering and the fire crackling from the wood-chip burning oven for al carbon-style cooking. Every tortilla is pressed right in front of you as you order, and the authentic menu features only the freshest organic local produce. Heck, the organic blue corn masa for the tortillas is sourced directly from a trusted farmer in the hills of Oaxaca, Mexico. Try the al pastor and skirt steak tacos, the avocado salad and spiced cauliflower.
From Marcos Heredia
“It was important to make sure that we stood apart, sharing our traditions, techniques and culture that have been passed down in my family for generations. The food is a testament to itself.”
As Reported By The Dana Point Times
In a feature on Dana Point ROCKS: Culinary Corner by Anthony Small: Carmelita’s Taqueria – Tacos, Traditions and Trains