Mission Street staple La Taqueria is raising its prices to reflect the increased costs of labor and ingredients, especially meat. Fans of La Taq’s burritos won’t need owner Miguel Jara to point this out, but “my burrito has no rice,” he explains, “so I have to put in more meat, and the price of meat is sky high.” His new prices start today: Tacos are 15 cents more than before, and burritos are a dollar more.
After four decades in business and a slew of awards, La Taqueria’s biggest challenge is consistency, which relies upon using good ingredients and keeping good employees. Jara refers to his longtime employees as “my kids” and continually raises their pay: “nobody makes minimum wage.” In fact, some make more like $26 or $27 an hour. “One of my taco makers has been there for thirty years, and every year he gets a raise.” Jara could hypothetically replace him with someone new and pay far less, but that would bring down quality. “I’m gonna keep him for as long as I can.”
This year, La Taqueria was honored with a James Beard America’s Classics award. “I’m doing pretty good, for a Mexican,” Jara says with a laugh. But the restaurant’s dedication to quality, not the notoriety of winning awards, is what accounts for the price increase according to the owner.
“I’ve gotten plenty of awards without raising the prices,” Jara says. He didn’t raise prices on the heels of winning Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight burrito bracket in 2014, which drew even longer lines than usual, but did raise them a year and a half ago. Tacos went up 25 cents from $3.75 to $4, and burritos went up 75 cents from $6.75 to $8.50. The latest increase brings Tacos up 15 cents to $4.15 and burritos up a dollar to $9.50.