I am definitely not the most high-profile taco connoisseur in these parts, but I do like to frequent a few good taco joints around Fresno. One of my favorites is Robertito’s Taco Shop at Blackstone and Gettysburg. It’s open 24 hours and it has become the perfect late-night stop for my wife Tracy and me when we’re coming home late from a show downtown or in the Tower. My stand-by order is two chicken tacos a la carte, although there are plenty of other guilty pleasures on the menu.
I recently ate lunch at Robertito’s with my dear friend Teresa Flores, a local mixed-media artist and filmmaker. Teresa is a Fresno native and, like me, has a longtime love affair with Robertito’s. We met there for a going-away lunch on the eve of Teresa leaving for Santa Monica and the prestigious Otis College of Art and Design, where she will pursue an MFA in public art. Teresa ordered the California burrito with carne asada, which is a favorite order of another artist friend of ours because it’s a burrito that includes — wait for it — french fries!
While there, Teresa told me about a short film she once shot in the Robertito’s women’s bathroom. She said that it used to be covered floor to ceiling with graffiti, a scene that someone like Teresa, who loves graffiti art, absolutely loves. The day we met for lunch was the first time she’d eaten there in a while, and she reported that the current bathroom was much different now. Teresa wrote on her blog about the cult status of the Robertito’s bathroom and her disappointment at its cleanup and makeover.
Even though the place has a long history of being sketchy, we agreed that both the food and the company was good. (The bathrooms are also pretty clean now, as you can see.) Graffiti art in the bathrooms or not, eating at Robertito’s feels a little like sitting inside a time capsule — the ripped vinyl seating, the faded menu board, the greasy order window, the rickety wooden trash box, and so on. The cache always feels special.
Bathroom photos courtesy Teresa Flores, who is camera shy.
Robertito’s Taco Shop
4509 N. Blackstone Ave., Fresno, CA 93704