I used to live in San Diego and ate at Aliberto’s, Rigoberto’s, and all the other iterations of ’Berto’s I could find. I just saw your article from March 16, 2000, and I hope this email gets to you. 12 years is a long time. My two grown sons who live in Dallas love the ’Berto’s, and I have to take them to San Diego from Orange County whenever they come to town. I remember an article called “The Battle of the ’Berto’s” that I think was published a number of years ago in the San Diego Union Tribune. It might have been the Reader, but I think it was the Tribune. I am trying to find out if all of these ’Berto’s are centrally owned or connected in some way. I think I also read somewhere that there are a total of over 100 locations in about 5 states. Trying to find out if any of them are in Dallas. Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated.
We did publish a ’Berto’s rundown back in 2000. As far as I know, our list is still the most complete. It’s even growing, as Phil Salome still sends us the occasional update. Thanks, Phil! We’re not the only people who’ve looked at the ’Berto’s connection, as a little rifling through the archives shows. There are lots of ’Berto’s in Arizona and the Republic there printed an article to enlighten the ’Zonis about their origins, namely that their beginnings are here in San Diego with Roberto’s back in the ’70s. There’s even an “Uncle Berto’s” in far-off South Carolina, but the burritos they’re wrapping up in the kitchen bear little resemblance to the carne asada masterpieces that come from any of the ’Berto’s hereabouts.
There is no central ownership or anything to all the ’Berto’s. Roberto’s are all owned by the same family. Filiberto’s has a different owner. Gualberto’s is different too. At one point, Alberto’s tried to sue some other taco shops, claiming brand infringement. I suppose that’s fitting, since Alberto’s was originally called “Roberto’s” until the real Roberto’s sued. It’s really quite a tangled web of ’Berto’s out there.
As for Dallas, I checked with Scott Reitz, restaurant critic at the Dallas Observer, and he doesn’t think there are any ’Berto’s in Dallas. Looks like you’ll be airmailing burritos to Texas for the foreseeable future. Maybe your boys can send back some beef ribs and brisket in return. We’ll surely accept a platter at the Alice Ranch.