From the 664 to the 530, a father-son duo brings authentic Tijuana taste to Chico


Javier Hernandez

Jose and Jovito Hernandez outside of their shop.

J’s Tacos and Beer emulates authentic Tijuana cuisine here in Chico. Jose Hernandez and his father Jovito Hernandez run their business together.

This journey didn’t start here in Chico. It originated in Tijuana, Mexico, more than 30 years ago.

Jovito Hernandez said it all started in his old taqueria (taco place) on zona Aguascalientes on calle centro. This is where he learned how to cook “Tijuana Style.” Taqueria: El Guero has now been passed down to a family member. 

Jovito Hernandez said “Tijuana Style” cooking is all about diversity. He said the process of making homemade tortillas to use for tacos was originally created in Tijuana. Also mulitas (Tijuana quesadillas) and adobada (Mexican marinated pork) both originated in Tijuana. 

“I always loved the kitchen and making good food,” Jovito Hernandez said.

His son, Jose Hernandez, started to get more involved when they started their taco truck, Mi Taquito Grill in 2017 in Paradise.

Due to unforeseen circumstances they had to move their taco truck from Paradise to Chico.

Jose Hernandez was studying finance at Chico State, so it made the most sense for their family. 

Jose and Jovito Hernandez were doing pop-up stands in Chico and were known for their tacos of “trompo.”

“Trompo” is a different way of grilling meat. A “trompo” is a spinning rotisserie grill, once the desired meat is cooked you slice it off and serve it.

They have been wanting to open up a restaurant for years and when the opportunity finally presented itself, on Nov. 11, 2021, they opened J’s Tacos and Beer in Chico on 900 Cherry St.

A unique thing about their outside patio is it was hand remodeled by the Hernandezes. They repainted it to be the colors of the Mexican flag, red and green. 

Jose Hernandez said the community has been very supportive and they feel at home. 

“We wanted to bring some culture to Chico,” Jose Hernandez said. “Nobody in Chico is doing Tijuana style food, we have a lot of pride in our business.”

Currently, they are open Tuesday-Sunday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Jose Hernandez said they are thinking of expanding their hours to accommodate the needs of their customers. 

Their menu is simple, but it truly encompasses their message of bringing the best food experience to their customers. 

The menu consists of their famous tacos, fries and mulitas. They offer two types of meats: beef ribeye and pork adobada. J’s also offers vegan options as well. 

While the menu is simple, they envision themselves expanding it very soon.

They want to offer breakfast and more Mexican dishes to their customers. Jovito Hernandez said he is all about being different from other restaurants, but wants to make sure he stays authentic to his roots. 

Despite being known as a restaurant, Jose Hernandez said there are big things coming for their business. 

“We want to show off our culture, we want things such as bailes, holiday specials, and things of such sort,” Jose Hernandez said.

Timmy Oropeza, a cousin of Jose who helps out with the business, said what stands out to him is the love and affection that is shown through everyone in the restaurant.

“They always help you right away,” Oropeza said. “They make you feel welcomed at all times.”

Oropeza said J’s have brought back some real, authentic Mexican food to Chico. 

“This experience of eating those handmade tacos and adobada straight off the trompo is something you don’t see here,” Oropeza said.

Family is what this restaurant represents. Everyone is always in a good mood and they treat their customers like family.

Jovito Hernandez has been a proud taquero for about 30 years, but plans to retire this year. 

“I am getting my son Jose ready to take over,” Jovito Hernandez said. “I have all the faith in the world that my son will continue our legacy.”

Javier Hernandez can be reached at [email protected] and @jhm1226 on Twitter.