Public Market’s Viva Mexican Grill reborn as “Best Coast Burritos”

2 mins read

As a result of the ongoing Public Market renovation, quite a few readers have lamented the loss of a few of their favorite cheap bites. One of those was Viva Mexican Grill that shuttered last year. “My wife practically grew up at the Public Market” noted co-owner Alvin Shen who has lived in Emeryville for the past three years with his wife Michelle and their newborn daughter.

“After our lease expired, we were invited to audition for one of the new stalls but we opted to go out on our own.” Michelle’s family had previously operated Viva Mexican for two decades and they have an even long connection with the marketplace that dates back to 1989.

Best Coast Burritos had its lunch soft opening over the weekend and continue to work out the kinks in anticipation of a Grand Opening with full Dinner Service by February.

Originally from the Central Valley, Alvin was working in Advertising after receiving a degree at the Academy of Art in SF. He wanted to change things up and in his words “control his own destiny” through entrepreneurship. Instead of reopening Viva Mexican, Alvin wanted to start fresh and create a more memorable brand with the ambitious idea of eventual expansion. They opted to stay in Emeryville and found the long vacant spot adjacent to the Chevron Gas Station on Hollis & Powell.

With his Marketing and Advertising background, he wanted to create something recognizable and “scalable” and it’s reflected in the taqueria’s polished collateral and lime-green accented decor. The photos hung on wall are of Emeryville icons including our utility box public art, Pixar & the picturesque Marina area and reflective of their love of their adopted home. “We have roots here. We’re very passionate about the town. It’s changed a lot, but mostly for the better.”

Best Coast Burritos

The name “Best Coast” is Alvin & Michelle’s subtle tribute to their family’s love for the West Coast and California in particular. “People in our nations history have seen the West Coast as a place for new opportunities for many obvious reasons” Alvin noted. “There’s so many reasons to argue it’s our nation’s best coast. Mexican food being such a natural extension of that feeling”.

They retooled the menu to compete with today’s more discerning palette and added the San Diego staple “California Burrito” to the menu (That’s a Burrito … with fries in it!). Instead of the sometimes overwhelming menu options of a typical taqueria, BCB has gone with the food truck model of fewer, higher-quality items but still offers customization opportunities for customers that want something unique.


BCB’s salsas are made fresh daily and include a range of traditional pico de gallo, salsa verde as well as a proprietary green sauce and their own unique sriracha cream sauce. They also offer your standard Mexican cervezas, soda beverages & horchata.


Best Coast actually retained all their employees from Viva and even have brought on a few additional workers as well. Alvin noted most of their staff has been working with them for over ten years.

Alvin admits the recent wage increase is a concern to all small businesses especially in the food service business but fundamentally supports the living wage concept. He’s cautiously optimistic that consumers will share the burden of the higher menu prices that reflect higher labor costs. “It’s going to be interesting with wage increases every year. If patrons have to theoretically pay $15 for a burrito that they were previously paying $11 for, they’re going to want an added value like service or experience. It’s a concern, but god-willing, we intend on being here for a long time.”

Best Coast joins a thriving Hollis & Powell intersection that includes Honor Bar, Bureau 510, and the highly anticipated Ike’s Lair. “Given how many working-folk and new developments there are along this corridor, we feel it’s poised for growth!”



Soft Opening Hours:

M-F: 7AM – 8PM
S/S: 11AM-8PM





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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.


  1. I heard the town nut job Brian Donahue already called harassing them. When is RULE going to take a stand or better yet, when is the EPD going to arrest him?

    • Actually he’s the new Emeryville City Council Welcoming Committee making sure that every small business knows they are not wanted here in Emeryville. Doing a damn fine job of it too.

      • Actually, interviewing a new business that claimed they’re “fundamentally supportive” of our Minimum Wage Ordinance to find out the level of support, for a possible story….doing a damn fine job of it too. If you think that’s illegal, then you too should call the police.

      • Does “interviewing a new business” include leaving them a 1-star review on Yelp if they don’t give you the answers you want about the Minimum Wage Ordinance? Did you even eat there? Or were you just getting revenge because word got out that you failed to bully the business into saying what you wanted?


        The fact that Jac Asher, Dianne Martinez, Scott Donahue, and RULE won’t speak out against your harassment of local businesses continues to be pretty pathetic. Either they’re cut from the same cloth, are afraid of losing your support, don’t care, or they appreciate the harassment of anyone who speaks out against the MWO.

      • They received my one star on yelp after they relayed false details of my interview to you Rob. The owner of this burrito shop first told me he supports Emeryville’s minimum wage and then told me he didn’t, all in one phone interview. It’s obvious he wants to send two messages; one to the right wing that he doesn’t support the MWO and he doesn’t want to pay his workers $12.25 per hour and he also wants to send a message to everybody else in Emeryville that he supports the MWO. I understand that’s something that would be good for his business (to make everybody like him), but I’m not going to use my blog to do that for him. Unlike the E’Ville Eye, the Tattler is not here to help businesses.
        When I asked him again; do you support the MWO, he went hostile and then hung up.

        If you want to continue on with your harassment charge (it’s illegal to harass), YOU NEED TO CALL THE POLICE. If you want RULE or any Council members to publicly criticize me, I think they’ll probably do that after I’ve been arrested…or at least after I’ve been successfully prosecuted. So again Rob, it’s all up to you.
        Failure to have me arrested renders your charges against me baseless and purely political. Lest more conclude you’re a just a charlatan, it’s in your interests to call the police and see how it turns out. Make your move. Make sure you report on it afterwards.

      • Well that’s pretty much a confession to what was said by the original comment. You gave the business a dishonest Yelp review because you didn’t like the owner’s position on the minimum wage ordinance.

        Anyone who reads your blog understands that you have difficulty with nuance. Your world view is black and white and angry and extreme. I would imagine that the owner explained that he was supportive of raising the minimum wage but disliked how it was done by City Council. Just like almost every other small business in town.

        No one cares enough to have you arrested, although I notice in your other Yelp reviews you personally admit to another business owner calling the police to have you removed. Apparently your ability to flee premises within 90 seconds is up to the task. That’s your own story so please sue yourself for libel or slander.

        How have you convinced yourself that everyone who speaks out against your behavior is Rob?

        Your behavior is appalling. Do not be surprised that a wide variety of people speak out against it. Sadly that does not include the RULE block of City Council.

      • So you didn’t bother to read my Yelp review then. You have an opinion on it though.
        Oh and not being interested enough to have me arrested? Really Rob? You wouldn’t like to see me arrested? This is just another bull shit line from you. What you want is to keep claiming I’m a criminal but never having to prove it…How convenient that is for you.
        No, you’re interested in seeing me arrested all right, you’re just pissed off because the Emeryville Police won’t arrest people you want them to who aren’t breaking the law.

      • Ah yes..Old Dominion Lines…one of their five “Core Principles” posted on their wall in the lobby is that they are anti-union. I was there picking up a package and I asked them about that: “proudly anti-union” the manager said. To which I replied; “OK, thanks. I’ll not be using THIS freight carrier again. That’s when he threatened to call the police. I intervened and told him I’d call for him. So I called the Oakland Police to tell them Old Dominion doesn’t like unions but I do and they should come down for some reason…maybe to lodge our two conflicting opinions about unions. The Oakland cops thought the better of it and that was that. Nothing came of it (again, not a crime to be pro-union) but it certainly WAS entertaining. Thanks for reminding me of it.

        But back to Emeryville, you might want to relay the text of the Yelp opinion I expressed for the burrito shop Rob since you seem to find it somehow damning.

      • I guess you’re assuming no one will actually read your Yelp review of Old Dominion where you relate that you were given 90 seconds to leave the property which was not enough time to tie down your load safely. That’s a very different description than the one you just invented. You truly have no shame. I’m done.

      • Yes, the guy really hates unions and he can’t stand people that defend them. He’ll even lose money to chase out customers that are pro-union. It seems crazy to me but I guess he has his anti-union principles that he feels he has to stick by.

        Shame…yes, I feel it every time I hear someone speak of how Emeryville has been so right wing and pro-business. It makes me feel shame for my town that it has taken so long to make City Hall work in the interests of the residents.
        You may be ‘done’ but I’m not BTW…still working to make sure our government works for us.

    • “Interviewing” would be predicated on what you do loosely resembling journalism and not one man’s rants. It’s OK. All sociopaths slip up eventually. Ted Bundy did and you will to.

      • Look Rob, if you’re correct, it’s very easy to have me arrested. All you have to do is call the police and report to them on the crimes you say I’ve committed. If the police believe you, then I’ll be arrested. No need to wait for a “slip up”…you can do it right now. There are many crimes you’ve reported that I’ve committed and the statute of limitations isn’t exceeded. Now if this is just a ploy, then I won’t get arrested and you’re exposed as a charlatan.

      • The most hilarious thing is you think Rob is the only to identify you as the cancer in the city. He’s just the only one with big enough stones to challenge you (certainly not your brother or your RULE handlers).

      • I agree with Brian. Being a jerk is not a crime. Verbally browbeating local business owners is also not a crime. Carry on.

      • “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

      • Rob is Yoda. I knew it!!

        (And that’s props for fighting the Dark Side of Emeryville, not a shot at your size. Ok, well maybe a little.)

  2. Why haven’t you called the police to have me arrested if you feel a crime has been committed Rob? Why are you allowing criminals to go about their criminal ways? That makes you an accomplice. Why are you abetting crime Rob?
    I keep committing crimes says Rob and his minions but I never seem to get arrested. What’s wrong with EPD that they can’t arrest criminals? You’d think after all the serious crimes that you’ve reported I’ve done Rob, I’d have been put away. Other criminals get arrested, why can’t the EPD arrest me? The nut case Rob Arias can’t even see to it a common criminal is arrested after he exposes one.

    • Brian, I don’t need to hide behind anonymity to call you out for your behavior and I’ve demonstrated this plenty of times on this site and at City Hall. Never once have I accused you of doing anything “illegal” though. Did I hear through the grapevine of your confrontation with them? Yes. Did I personally notify others in my network of this? Yes. I’ve been told repeatedly from many not to engage with you in any manner as it only leads to further enragement, irrationality and trolling behavior so I’ve opted to bite my tongue. (you’ve done this on Berkeleyside.com as well:
      I encourage you to please engage in a respectful dialogue with others on this site and respect our comment policy:

      • If you don’t need to hide behind anonymity then why do it?
        Harassment is a crime…a misdemeanor. You have accused me of committing this crime many times in your blog. I’ve asked the Emeryville police about this and they tell me you should call them to report my crimes as you see them but you’re refusing to do that. It’s obvious why you refuse; to accuse me of committing crimes is to dilute something you can’t countenance: my pro-resident/anti-corporate message. But Rob, I’ve said time and time again; it’s A-OK for you to be the right wing blog. You should continue to make your case that Emeryville needs to mollify business concerns for whatever reasons you find compelling. You should present a persuasive argument that doesn’t rely on making false claims of crimes committed by me to do it. Your pro-business ideas shouldn’t need me and my fake crimes as a crutch. You’ve got your soapbox…use it the way you’re supposed to.

      • Just because Rob shouldn’t have to do it all alone:

        Brian, show this page to your therapist or RULE or Scott, Jac, and Dianne, or whoever listens to you any more. Ask them to sort it out for you. Sit back and imagine people you care about reading your endless rants one day and deciding what kind of person you were based on how you behaved many years ago. Do anything, but do it somewhere else.

        I had a dog once that crapped on my floor. He was told repeatedly to stop. He was taken outside and shown how to behave. He was treated with great patience by the people he had wronged.

        Do you know what he told me?

        He said: “Crapping on other people’s stuff is a crime. If you’re going to accuse me of crapping on your stuff, then call the police and get me arrested. If you don’t then you’re a charlatan, and obviously, I haven’t crapped…EVER…despite your so-called evidence. So I will shit wherever I please. And, in case you heard I do this because I’m a bad, self-absorbed, self-righteous mutt, that’s just a right-wing canard. I shit wherever I choose for social justice.”

        I had him put down.

  3. I’m sorry, but shouldn’t this thread be about this local business, Best Coast Burritos, that is trying to give it a go? Not 20+ comments back and forth that people didn’t come hear to read about?

    – This comment is coming from a 10 year resident of Emeryville/Oakland…

  4. I have been catching up on old “Nextdoors” with time I have and came across the above rants between a couple of Emeryville-ites that is beyond juvenile. To do this in a public forum like you do is unbelievable. Why don’t you take it out to the schoolyard and duke it up? Get some holes in your dungarees and some scabs on your knees? But thanks for the good laugh I got out of it! I guess?

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