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Friday, Sep 22, 2023

Sayulitas Fuses Mexican, Filipino Flavors

Sayulitas Mexican Food, founded in 2015, isn’t your typical taco shop.

With six locations, the family owned and operated company infuses its fast-casual Mexican food with Filipino culinary traditions, says Rosa Flores, owner. Touting itself as the home of the Hot Cheetos Burritos and the “big *ss burritos”, the Filipino twist on its counter-service menu includes spamsilog, pork longanisa and quesa lumpia burritos, plus spam and tocino fries.


Other menu items include breakfast plates, tortas, tacos, chimichangas, bacon-wrapped burritos and seafood choices like fried tilapia and shrimp cocktail.

Unique Taco Shop

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This past summer, Sayulitas opened a shop on the Las Vegas strip. Operating five stores in San Diego County, including the flagship location in Mira Mesa, Sayulitas’ newest addition is its sixth store and marks its first out-of-state restaurant. Other brick-and-mortars include Escondido, Otay Mesa West, Southcrest and San Marcos.

“Six years ago, we were at a crossroads in our career industries,” said Flores. “We were vacationing in Sayulita, Mexico, where we met a few local restaurant owners. That trip really inspired us to take a risk by opening a taco shop. My parents previously owned a few back in the day. So, I grew up working in taco shops until I was in my mid-20s. We both used our experience in previous industries to put forward our vision and plan to be a traditional and unique taco shop, to represent our Mexican/Filipino heritage and community.”

In Las Vegas, Sayulitas settled into a 1,200 square foot location on the southern end of the strip, just across from the Mandalay Bay hotel. It sits between Rocco’s NY Pizza & Pasta and a drive-thru McDonald’s at the Akita Plaza retail center. The shop has indoor and outdoor seating with a total occupancy of 28.


Fresh Quality Food

Sayulitas Mexican Food credits its success to its loyal customers, staff, communities, contractors and vendors, said Flores. Most importantly, the family’s vision of being a “traditional unique taco shop was key from the beginning,” she said.


“Last, our hard work ethic from ownership, management to shop staff to provide fresh quality food and superior service to our customers and a shop where you can get traditional Mexican food with a Filipino twist.”

But Sayulitas Mexican Food really began to scale after Buzzfeed Inc. did a web segment on its Hot Cheetos Burrito four years ago, said Flores. In the clip, the New York-based internet media, news and entertainment company detailed how the popular menu item is made and what it consists of, she said.


With a price tag of $10.79, The Hot Cheetos Burrito is made with carne asada, nacho cheese, guacamole, sour cream and Flamin Hot Cheetos on an extra large flour tortilla.

Massive and Very Delicious

After the Buzzfeed video aired, the crowds flocked to the existing Sayulitas stores and prompted Flores and her team to continue the company’s expansion.

“Found out about this place from a video about their burritos from a friend on Facebook,” wrote one Yelp reviewer about Sayulitas, who gave it five stars. “I was a little shocked that I’ve never heard about this place since I love burritos! Once we arrived inside, we automatically noticed all the pictures of the burritos and were in awe of which ones to choose. We ended up ordering the Lumpia Burrito and the Salchichon Burrito. They were both massive and very delicious! I will definitely be back to try the other burritos. If you’re in the area and are in the mood for some good, delicious Mexican food, then, this is the place.”

While Flores is mum on what the future holds for Sayulitas, she does hint at potential growth, but only if the market is right and timing makes sense. For now, she is happy to continue to feed her customers her innovative creations with traditional Mexican and Filipino flavors.

“Let’s just say, the sky’s the limit and we are shooting for the stars,” she says.


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