SoCal-founded Mexican restaurant Puesto is about to expands its taco empire with a second Bay Area location. Puesto Concord, which follows the opening of a huge Santa Clara Puesto in May, will greet its first customers at 2035 Diamond Boulevard (in the Veranda Center) on Sunday, November 11.
The new Puesto joins the Santa Clara location, two in the San Diego area, and two in Orange County. It’s smaller than its most recent sibling — but massive by most other measures. The 7,500-square-foot indoor-outdoor space was designed by San Diego’s Paul Basile of BASILE Studio with murals by acclaimed Bay Area graffiti artist Chor Boogie.
There’s seating for 250, with patio space divided from the main dining room by hydraulic windows. More hydraulics (they like hydraulics) do the heavy lifting for bartenders: As at the Santa Clara Puesto, there’s a liquor carousel with kneeling shelves that present bottles to bartenders — no ladders necessary for mixing those margaritas.
“We keep learning from the spaces, incorporating aspects, and every new one is the best — so this is the best one yet,” says Puesto owner Eric Adler.
A first-generation Mexican American, Adler runs Puesto with his brothers Alex and Alan and partner/executive chef Luisteen Gonzalez, a native of Mexico City. In his experience, “eating tacos can be a lot of different things” — more and less formal affairs than dinner at Puesto. But beyond his restaurant’s cuisine, “At Puesto, it’s a memorable experience based on the space you’re in.”
“The food’s number one, but we put a lot of emphasis on the space,” Adler says. There are some flashy food items to match the decor: Think filet mignon tacos with melted cheese, avocado, and pistachio serrano on memorable blue corn tortillas from LA’s Kernel of Truth Organics.
“We’re all creative and love design, and we want you, in order to have the best experience, to be in a cool space that you feel great in.”
As Puesto has grown since 2012, Mexican cuisine has only gained more cultural currency in the US. “My favorite food growing up was chilaquiles,” says Adler. “10 years ago, that was not a common thing. Now you see it on every brunch menu.”
To keep up to speed — and to continue to spread the love for Mexican cuisine — Adler and team are closely tracking food trends in Mexico City. Inspired by street-side taco shops grilling meet in front of customers, Puesto Concord will introduce items like ribeye carne asada sizzled table side on lava rock.
After Puesto Concord opens Tuesday, hours will be Tuesday, Friday, Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.