Michelin-cred tacos and arepas now at Castro Valley pop-up


Castro Valley is on the brink of being more than mini golf and fast food. The census-designated place is already home to a sparkling marketplace of artisanal vendors, from Seven Hills Baking Co to Akemi Japanese Cuisine. And let’s not forget that world champion pizzaiolo Tony Gemignani threw his first pies in Castro Valley.

This month, along with fellow chefs Gustavo Villarroel, Jon Garcia and Christian Caguiat, Castro Valley native Mikey Ochoa, who previously cooked at Michelin-starred Lazy Bear and Rich Table in San Francisco, is reopening and expanding the menu at Hermanos Verdes, a pop up inspired by the cuisines of Latin America. It is currently open Thursdays-Saturdays at the Hayward Castro Valley Moose Lodge. Sunday brunch is coming soon.

“At the end of the day we are a bunch of hermanos who were laid off due to the pandemic and we are working together to bring awesome food to our community,” Garcia said in an email to the East Bay Times.

Hermanos Verdes specializes in Mexican food, with bold and modern takes on tacos and other fare. There’s an already famous Pork Chile Verde alongside Jackfruit Tinga; Coffee Horchata, Strawberry Beignets and a Breakfast Arepa Sandwich filled with “eggs perico,” Sriracha-candied bacon and Venezuelan avocado salsa. All menu items are under $13.

In an email, Ochoa explained that he started Hermanos Verdes in his apartment back in June after being laid off from his job as a chef at Linked In. Garcia, a lifelong friend, was there from the start.

The duo moved into the Moose Lodge in October with help from Caguiat, who Ochoa knew from  Linked In. Villarroel, formerly of SPQR, first entered the picture when they decided to do a collaboration between Hermanos Verdes and Villarroel’s Venezuelan pop-up, Tavo’s Joint, in November. They sold out and were humbled by the support. And saddened that they had to turn people away.

“We just really enjoyed working together and the creative energy between all of us made us want to pursue a continued relationship,” he said via email.

The menu is ever-expanding, with occasional specials, like this week’s Carne Asada Fries and a new breakfast item: Vegan Spanish Congee with “fajita vegetables,” pickled onions and cilantro.

Due to the overwhelming response for their food, Hermanos Verdes is dropping online pre-orders and moving to a walk-ins only model. But Garcia and Ochoa said that they are keeping the other days of the week open in hopes of occupying other locations for future events and pop ups. Stay tuned.

“For all those stuck at home, do not worry,” he said. “We are working towards a delivery system in the near future so please keep an eye open on our social media.”

Check Instagram and Facebook for updates. Hermanos Verdes is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at 20835 Rutledge Road in Castro Valley.