Though often operating under the radar—inside discreet flea markets, word-of-mouth backyards and literal garages—Richmond has quietly risen into the top tier of Bay Area food and beverage destinations.
Whether it’s a lager at East Brother Beer Co., a Guatemalan rice tamal at Antojitos Guatemaltecos, or a Hot Cheetos burrito at Taqueria El Mezcal, the area’s rich culinary scene—influenced by the diverse presence of Black, immigrant and working-class families—is worth a trip.
Very few residents exemplify the area's success more than El Garage co-founder Viviana Montano. A born-and-raised Rich City business owner, Montano and her family opened their wildly popular taqueria in 2019, when it operated as a pop-up inside the family’s garage. Since then, El Garage has expanded into a premier downtown location and garnered attention from every taco lover in the region, including KQED’s own food editor, Luke Tsai, who spoke with Montano about her favorite hometown spots to grub.
But before all that taco glory, Montano started out as a bartender for Armistice Brewing Company, back when the brewery first opened in 2017. At the time, the craft brewhouse, owned by siblings Greg and Alex Zobel, was among the early wavemakers to move in along Richmond’s changing waterfront. They have since outlasted COVID to become one of the city’s flagship breweries with prime real estate in the marina. And though Montano left Armistice in 2019 to pursue her own ventures, she loved her time there and took a newfound interest in beer that she never anticipated.