Restaurants have long been a family affair for Miguel and Maria Tello, owners of Taqueria Mi Pueblito.

He has family in the business in San Diego, and her sister is an owner in Taqueria Yungapeti on Ninth Avenue.

So it may be no surprise to find the family legacy continues with them.

After expanding from a taco truck at Sixth Avenue and Main Street to their first brick-and-mortar eatery six years ago, their two oldest children, Abigail and Adrian, would return from college at Eastern Washington University to help on the weekends.

Daughter-in-law Minerva, who is married to Adrian, manages the location. When the second permanent spot opened on Rose Street late last year, their oldest children — youngest Miguel is 7 — broke from careers in juvenile detention to help with the family business, Minerva said.

A staff of 12 runs the Isaacs spot, where the casual dining room is known for its heaping helpings and its burritos, tacos, pambazos, quesadillas, tostados, sopes and more.

The business honors the Tellos’ homeland of Jungapeo in Michoacan, Mexico. The name “Mi Pueblito” translates to “my little town,” and the gazebo in the logo is one from Jungapeo, Minerva said.

Sandwiched between Whitman College and Walla Walla Community College, the place is a go-to spot for big appetites on a budget and with a balance of speed and tastiness.

Among the most popular dishes, Minerva said, are the Walla Walla and California burritos, along with huevos rancheros for breakfast, garlic shrimp, and the “Miguel Especial,” named for the boss’s favorite steak and shrimp.

Minerva said her job is to fill in wherever help is needed. It’s a position she’s happy to take, inspired by the strength of matriarch Maria who juggles business ownership and nurturing grandchildren, seemingly with ease and endless patience.

“She works sometimes 15 hours a day,” Minerva marveled. “I don’t know how she does it.”

Future expansion for the business may come in a couple of years as the second location settles into its norm, and the truck and Isaacs location continue.

“I feel like we’re covering all of Walla Walla slowly,” Minerva said.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at 509-526-8321, or on Twitter at

Vicki covers business and economic development, including tourism, the Port of Walla Walla and the Strictly Business column, as well as features. She has been reporting for the Union-Bulletin since late 2001.

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