La Calle Opens in Oakland
New sit-down taqueria serves super-authentic, traditional Mexican food
Owners Alfonso and Erica Dominguez Photos by Gregory Wild-Smith
Alfonso Dominguez of Tamarindo and Five Ten Studio throws a Mexican spin on lunch into the mix of Oakland's up-and-coming dining scene. This time, Dominguez teams up with his mother, Gloria, and sister, Erica, to bring back the days of the original Taqueira in the form of La Calle. With it's bright, colorful, and airy interior and hand-built furniture, La Calle takes diners back several decades before, as the owner says, Taqueria food became generic, watered down, and drive-through. Dominguez, who grew up in East Oakland, says La Calle represents the "Epitomy of the first Taqueira. This was back before the taste of the food was drowned out with rice and sour cream." Dominguez continues, "I want people to be able to taste the quality of the food."
The menu may be simple, but that's the point. It offers a mix of familiar dishes such as burritos and tacos, but also some more traditional Mexican favorites such as elote—a grilled corn snack coated in chili—and hot sandwiches known as "Tortas." Also included are four different meats to choose from, as well as several vegetarian options. Dominguez's favorite thing on the menu? The good old fashioned burrito, which comes with slow-cooked meat, salsa, and beans.
The walls of La Calle are vibrant, and collaged with everything Mexican—movie posters, illustrations, political figures, Luchadores (Mexican wrestlers), and even Spanish bingo cards. "These images are my memories of Mexican culture when I was growing up," says Dominguez. "They are memories, and conversation starters. If a grandmother comes in with her grandson, and the grandmother says "Do you know who that is?" I want the different generations of family to be able to connect and communicate … and have a great meal too."
La Calle is now open for lunch from 11 a.m–5 p.m., Monday–Friday, and is planning an official Grand Opening for later this month.La Calle, 1000 Broadway (near the 12th St. BART station), Oakland, (510) 251-1290