words Bailey Grant
photography Isaac Bailey
It’s not hard to find a Mexican restaurant in The Valley of the Sun. On just about every street there’s a restaurant that sells tacos, burritos, and chips and salsa. However, there’s one restaurant, in particular, that has the most unusual beginning paired with mouthwatering food! It begins in a backyard.
Maricela Alvarez wanted to help her family out financially. She started selling tacos on the weekends out of her backyard in Mesa. The small business started out with neighbors and a few others in the area, but as people began experiencing the quality of the food and the friendliness of the family, the small crowds quickly turned to 400-500 people each weekend.
Jumping a few years from then to 2005, Steve Beck, partner of the restaurant, met Ruben and Maricela Alvarez at a charity event where they were selling their tacos.
“I was amazed at the number of people who showed up for their tacos and to support the event,” said Steve. “I loved their delicious food and them as people.”
That night, Steve talked to Ruben and Maricela to let them know he wanted to help them open up a restaurant if they ever wanted to. The Alvarez’s agreed to Steve’s proposal and opened up their very own restaurant in Mesa called Backyard Taco.
Today, the family business that began in a backyard will now have two locations starting in March when another Backyard Taco opens up in Gilbert.
According to Steve, the one thing that differentiates the exquisite Mexican restaurant from others starts with their mesquite grill, which gives the meats excellent flavor.
“Everything we use is fresh. No can openers exist at our restaurant,” said Steve.