When you set out to make the best taco in a city renowned for great tacos, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd. But Alex Adler ’11, co-owner of the wildly popular Puesto restaurants, made it happen.

Serving up a blend of traditional and modern Mexican dishes using local, seasonal ingredients, Puesto has claimed its place among San Diego’s premier Mexican restaurants.

It made Zagat’s “Best of List” for its zucchini and cactus taco in 2014, a mere two years after its first location opened in La Jolla.

The family-run business, co-owned and operated by Alex and his two older brothers, Eric and Alan, now has locations in La Jolla, downtown San Diego, and Irvine, with plans to open two more restaurants in the San Francisco area.

The playful mood is apparent in Puesto’s colorful storefront, artistic menus, and vibrant food. Alex and his fellow “tacoteurs” drew inspiration from Adler family recipes and placed their business in the skillful hands of world-class chefs.

“We don’t look Mexican, but our roots are Mexican,” Alex explained. “The food we eat at home is Mexican. It’s the same food we used to cook at home, and the same food we love—we’re just serving it in a restaurant setting.”

When Puesto first opened, Alex was halfway through his freshman year at New York University. He juggled school alongside internships at Google, Facebook, Uber, and Square, and he still managed to collaborate with his brothers to open the restaurant’s inaugural location. Alex said Parker had a hand in ensuring his success.

“I think Parker pushes you to have a drive to succeed in whatever you do,” he said. “Parker got me prepared to do everything and anything.”

I think Parker pushes you to have a drive to succeed in whatever you do…Parker got me prepared to do everything and anything.