What is a “-berto’s?” It doesn’t take much driving around to encounter countless examples. Roliberto’s, Poliberto’s, Raliberto's, Eriberto’s — these charmingly divey Mexican fast food joints aren’t for the elaborate-post-gentrification-style taco set, nor are they likely to satisfy authentic Mexican food purists. They exist in some alternate fast-food utopia where huge portions come incredibly cheap, ingredients are prepared daily, and weather-beaten exteriors serve not as a deterrent but as a signal of all of the above.
They’re also the subject of much folklore, with the various Roli’s and Poli’s rumored to actually be franchises of some larger corporation dodging income taxes or, even harder to prove, some sort of money-laundering fronts. More likely, the “-berto’s” suffix characterizes an ever-growing list of copycats looking to cash in on the reputation Filberto’s has established since opening its first location in Mesa in 1993. And for these efforts, it's no surprise dozens and dozens exist around the Valley.
Here's a breakdown of the best menu items these Mexican-food drive-thru joints in metro Phoenix have to offer.
Try the: carne asada burrito
Fili-B’s, the original, the eponym — the name of all the restaurants on this list, if you ask some people. Filiberto’s doesn’t top our list, but this chain deserves some credit for creating the model and sticking to the format. Anyone who’s been to any “-berto’s” knows what to expect here, and extremely rare is the Filiberto’s that isn’t open 24 hours a day or doesn’t have a drive-thru. Pro tip: Filiberto’s burritos can be ordered in “Jr.” form, for those looking to keep it a little lighter.
Try the: fish tacos
With an ever-growing number of locations rivaling the ubiquity of Filiberto’s, Julioberto’s offers a nearly identical menu as well. All the staples are here and have been since the chain first popped up in 2009. All the Julioberto’s locations are open 24 hours, and all offer a drive-thru. Pro tip: Avoid menu items whose flavor relies heavily on cheese, as Julio’s cheddar is not our favorite, though it gets the job done.
Try the: shredded chicken quesadilla
Federico’s may not bear the “-bertos” suffix, but it certainly operates in the same way. This chain offers the oversized burritos, tacos, and quesadillas for which the suffix is emblematic, but with noticeably fresher ingredients and consistent preparation. Most open early (like, 6 a.m.) and close around 10 p.m. to midnight, but many offer 24-hour drive-thrus. Pro tip: Take advantage of the expanded salsa selection at the salsa bar if you are dining in.
Eriberto’s3437 North Seventh Avenue
Try the: pollo asado burrito
This one-off eatery earns high praise for its cheaper-than-normal prices and its central location — meaning it’s one of the closest “-bertos” to downtown Phoenix. Eriberto’s also serves the best pollo asado of any restaurant on this list, with large, fresh, and tender cuts of chicken that would actually be suitable for consumption outside the 24-hour-Mexican-fast-food realm. Pro tip: Cut the carbs by ordering your burrito with no tortilla and be rewarded with an especially generous portion of meat and other fillings.
Rolberto’s5032 North Seventh Street
Try the: bean and cheese burrito
This 24-hour drive-thru may be one of our favorites. Rolberto’s tortillas are crispy fresh and anything but soggy, and the beans are some of the soupiest in town — in a good way. There’s no inside seating, but a row of covered picnic tables has usurped what appears to have been a second drive-thru lane. It's also a great way to get some air after last call. Pro Tip: Beans, beans, beans — add Rolberto’s soupy beans to just about any menu item to give it a surprisingly complex texture and flavor dynamic.
Torres Mexican Food240 West Southern Avenue, Tempe
Try the: overstuffed breakfast burritos
The 24-hour Torres Mexican Food doesn't sport the suffix, either, but we’ve been over this — these restaurants are very much doing the “-berto’s” thing. Formerly Riva’s Mexican Food, Torres earns its high ranking for its especially generous portions, its well-staffed and fast-moving kitchen, and its ideal location. Yucca Tap Room and Time Out Lounge goers are likely to know this dive as a late-night stop, and it’s a prime option for students at nearby Arizona State University. Pro tip: Ask for extra spicy pickled carrots.
Regio’s1705 East Indian School Road
Try the: chorizo burrito
Though tucked away, almost under the SR-51 overpass, Regio’s is not to be overlooked. Offering drive-thru options galore, Regio’s serves the “-berto’s” staples with seemingly more attention to detail. Many of the menu items’ ingredients wouldn’t be too out-of-place in a sit-down affair, and the restaurant’s red and green sauces are especially distinct in their tangy flavor. Regio's hours of business are 6 a.m. to midnight Monday to Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday. Pro tip: Add beans to the chorizo burrito for an especially indulgent dish.
Vaqueros Carne AsadaMultiple Locations
Try the: carne asada burrito
There’s a reason Vaqueros puts the “Carne Asada” right in the name. For our money, this is the best place to score a carne asada burrito in the whole city. Vaquero’s steak is violently seasoned and just as tender. They also dole it out in huge portions. A Vaquero’s burrito is the size of your forearm. No kidding. Plus, Vaqueros is open 24 hours a day. Pro tip: Make sure to ask for extra hot sauce — Vaquero’s sauce containers are small, and the kick the red sauce provides is necessary for every bite.
Try the: carne asada quesadilla
Outdoing even Vaqueros, Salsitas carne asada game is tops. Think: the smokiness of barbecue, every bit as tender, but with a subtle spice. It’s good in any of the applications on the Salsitas menu, but for some reason, it stands out the most in a quesadilla. Open 24 hours, its multitude of locations mean many of us won't go home hungry after a night of partying. Pro tip: ask for guacamole sauce. We repeat: ask for guacamole sauce. It comes free with any order, and Salsitas makes it spicy and heavy on the avocado.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on January 5, 2017. It was updated on January 27, 2021.
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