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Fresh from Jalisco: New Midtown taqueria

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A pair of Roseville taquerias called Jalisco Fresh Mexican Grill have become so popular that their owner has opened another in Midtown Sacramento.

Fans were driving from as far away as the foothill towns of Nevada City, El Dorado Hills and Auburn to get to the family-owned restaurants in Roseville. Some pleaded with owner Ramon Arias to launch his next taqueria in Auburn so they wouldn’t have to travel so far for the tacos, burritos and fajitas.

"They said, ‘You should open another taco house,’ " Arias, 42, said Monday. "We didn’t think there were enough people over there (in Auburn) to keep our business open. I thought Sacramento was better."

Arias and his family opened the third Jalisco Fresh last Monday at the corner of 19th and S streets in the R Street Marketplace. The Mexican eatery has taken over the spot at 1831 S St. vacated by Daphne’s Greek Cafe last summer.

A native of Guadalajara in Jalisco, Arias came to the United States in 1984. He went to work at a turkey farm in Sonoma County, where he became the manager. He worked there 16 years before opening his first restaurant in Concord in 2000. He later sold it and moved to Roseville.

Arias opened the first Jalisco Fresh Mexican Grill at 9050 Fairway Drive in Roseville in 2003. He opened a second there three years later at 5180 Foothills Blvd.

His three daughters, who were born in California, came up with the name for the restaurant. The family travels back to his home state of Jalisco every year or two to visit his parents and get spoiled by his mother’s cooking, he said.

The restaurants use recipes handed down by Arias’ mother and grandmother and others from Guadalajara or the Jalisco region. The burritos and fajitas – made with his mother’s recipe – are the most popular, Arias said.

"We do it our own way," he said. "People just love those things."

The menu includes tacos, burritos, tostadas, quesadillas, seafood, soup and plates ranging from $2.25 for a small taco to $14.99 for a beef-and-shrimp fajitas. The counter-service restaurant serves breakfast, which on weekend mornings includes Menudo. Beer, horchata and aguas frescas are also served.

His wife, Leticia Arias, brothers Jose and Alejandro, and his oldest daughter, 20-year-old Leidi, help out at the restaurants. The Midtown space underwent a renovation, with a green interior being repainted in terra cotta and pale yellow. The restaurant seats about 50 inside and 20 on an outside patio.

Jalisco Fresh is open daily from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. They’re still determining how late they need to stay open as news of the restaurant’s opening spreads, Arias said.

"Weekdays is going good," he said. "Weekends is quiet. Nobody knows that we’re there." 


Suzanne Hurt is a staff reporter and photographer at The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @SuzanneHurt.

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