Serving up traditional Mexican cuisine

Los Alberto’s owner Sophia Gomez talks about what it takes to operate a restaurant Wednesday. She has owned the Northgate Mile restaurant for 11 years. Pat Sutphin /

Owning a restaurant was always something Sophia Gomez wanted to do.

“This has always been my dream,” Gomez said. “I’ve worked in the food industry for a long time and have a real passion for the business.”

Today, the 38-year-old Gomez owns the Los Alberto’s restaurant at 1471 Northgate Mile. She focuses on creating a friendly atmosphere for customers and serving Mexican food made from fresh ingredients.

“I worked at a few different restaurants in the past,” Gomez said. “Oftentimes, I’d get upset at the way I saw people being treated. I always said ‘If I owned a restaurant, I’d treat everyone like family.’ That’s what I try to do here. I come to work with the attitude that after I walk in the door, everyone here is equal.”

Gomez said something that sets Los Alberto’s apart from other restaurants in town is the ingredients used and the way food is prepared.

“Business is going really well,” Gomez said. “We’ve been open for 11 years and haven’t had too many complaints, I try to keep the customers happy and give them the best food possible by only using fresh ingredients. What is on our menu is made here, it’s not just reheated or prepackaged food.”

Gomez, who is originally from Tijuana, Mexico, said for the most part, Los Alberto’s serves traditional Mexican food, using recipes from different regions of Mexico, but the staff also is able to create more unique items as well.

“Sometimes we make special requests for customers,” Gomez said. “If we have the ingredients we can create something unique. A few years ago, a lot of kids were coming in and asking us to put french fries on a carne asada burrito. After a while I thought, ‘People seem to love this, we should just put it on the menu.”

The carne asada fries burrito, made with grilled beef, guacamole, sour cream and french fries and wrapped up in a burrito shell, is the best-selling item on the menu, Gomez said.

“Most of the recipes we use come from Mexico,” Gomez said. “There are some non-traditional things as well, like the carne asada fries burrito. But most of our menu comes from my recipes and recipes I gathered while living in Mexico.”

Los Alberto’s serves burritos, tacos, enchiladas as well as several other dishes.

Customer Lucretia Larsen said the food and friendly service is what makes Los Alberto’s a one of her favorite restaurants.

“It’s not all that often that I go out to eat,” Larsen said. “But me and my husband always enjoy coming to Los Alberto’s. The food has been great every time and it doesn’t cost too much either.”

For Gomez, her favorite part of owning the restaurant is being a part of the community.

“I love this place,” she said. “Owning a restaurant was my dream and it’s great to be here. I love the customers that come in. I feel like I’ve made a lot of friends through working here.”