A San Diego institution, Las Cuatro Milpas has been cooking homestyle Mexican food for the Barrio Logan neighborhood and beyond since 1933, when Margarita Hernandez' grandparents first opened shop. Hernandez, the eldest of the grandchildren who currently run the business, says the eatery originally started with one table but in recent decades has grown to span three dining rooms.
Open from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, Las Cuatro Milpas only closes for one week annually, around New Year's. Otherwise, the cash-only spot, staffed primarily by women, cooks up scratch-made no-frills food, from tamales to tacos, day in and day out for devoted regulars who often line up for the rib-sticking menu. Behind the front counter, ladies fry batches of rolled tacos, ladle bowls of rice and long-simmered beans and stir oil-slicked pots of chorizo. In the central open kitchen, practiced hands shape, press and griddle never-ending stacks of fresh homemade flour and corn tortillas.
Among the loyal customers is local food leader and Catalina Offshore fishmonger Tommy Gomes, who has eaten breakfast there (his regular order is four pork tacos) every Monday for the last three years— a standing date with industry friends; Gomes says, "The conversation and food is like no other, simple and flavorful." And it's likely to endure. Hernandez tells Eater that though they've had many offers for the restaurant, she's confident that Las Cuatro Milpas will stay in the family for generations to come.