The seed of the idea that eventually turned into Cinco TacoBar, a modern-looking taqueria located in a San Leandro shopping plaza adjacent to Bayfair Center, was simple: Imagine a Chipotle where the food is actually good — where the bold flavors are more akin to what you’d find at a traditional taqueria. That, in a nutshell, is what Silvano Hernandez and his business partners set out to create. The assembly-line service model is very similar to what you’d find at a Chipotle: You choose from the selection of meats (carne asada, al pastor, carnitas, chicken, and seasoned ground beef, plus a grilled vegetable option), and then decide if you'd like to eat your meat in taco, burrito, bowl, quesadilla, or torta form. The difference is in the details — from the thick, made-to-order corn tortillas to the intense savoriness of the al pastor. Hardcore chiliheads should ask for the extra-spicy hot sauce that the restaurant keeps in back.

— Luke Tsai


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