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Taqueria brings Atlanta Highway authenticity to downtown Gainesville
Uno Mas Taqueria serves traditional Mexican dishes
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Uno Mas Taqueria on E.E. Butler Parkway in Gainesville offers authentic Mexican dishes like traditional tacos topped with cilantro and onions. - photo by Scott Rogers

David Arteaga stood on the sideline at an indoor soccer facility watching his teammates run up and down the pitch.

His mind was racing about as fast as the soccer ball each time it was kicked toward the net. He was cheering his team on as it was easily taking care of its opponent when he finally figured things out.

“I took a break and I was like ‘Come on guys, uno mas, uno mas,’” said Arteaga, co-owner and chef at Uno Mas Taqueria. “And I was like, ‘Oh, snap.’ I knew that was the name.”

Uno Mas, an authentic Mexican taqueria just opened at 203 E.E. Butler Parkway, where Arteaga and his wife, Fany, are hoping to make the flavors of Mexico more accessible.

David Arteaga said he knows if someone wants a good taco, they have to make their way to Atlanta Highway, a corridor of Latino businesses. That can be intimidating for some not accustomed to the culture. He said Uno Mas is there to bridge the gap.

“If we were going to be in Gainesville, we wanted to be in this area,” said Fany Arteaga, who was born in Michoacan, Mexico, and moved to Gainesville when she was 5 years old. “We could have gotten a spot on Atlanta Highway, but that wasn’t the point. We wanted to serve a different crowd.”

David Arteaga moved to the area from Long Beach, California, as he was beginning elementary school.

The Arteagas aren’t new to the restaurant business. David Arteaga’s mother, Maria Manzo, started operating a fresh juice shop inside the Pendergrass Flea Market about 15 years ago.

When she grew tired of that, her son and Fany Arteaga took it over and slowly began to introduce foods they had been cooking at home. Soon, David Arteaga said Pollo Way became the most successful restaurant at the flea market.

“Over there, it’s just two days a week that we’re open,” Fany Arteaga said of the food-court style restaurant they still operate. “But we’ve always wanted to branch out of that.”

Uno Mas Taqueria

Where: 203-B E.E. Butler Parkway, Gainesville

When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday

More info: 678-971-4881

Eight years of running Pollo Way on the weekends has now turned into a five-day-a-week operation at Uno Mas, just off the downtown Gainesville square. The location wasn’t easy to come by, though. Multiple landlords turned them down because they didn’t know how the menu would fit in the area.

Uno Mas serves traditional Mexican foods like gorditas as well as more unique creations like nacho fries. Soon, it will be adding tacos de trompo.

“We wanted to have more culture in Gainesville, because everyone thinks it’s just tacos,” David Arteaga said. “But in Mexico, there’s so many more plates out there.”

Gorditas are thick tortillas made from corn flour called masa. Once the tortillas are cut down the middle, they’re fried and filled with meat, cheese and beans then put on the grill.

And nacho fries are exactly what they sound like — fresh, fried potatoes with nacho toppings.

David Arteaga said he is especially excited about tacos de trompo, which Uno Mas will be serving in the coming weeks. The meat is similar to Greek gyros, but instead of lamb, it’s pork that is spit-grilled and thinly sliced. It’s then added to tortillas and served with fresh salsa.

The Arteagas said customers seem to enjoy the unique options.

“We sell everything like it’s for our family,” Fany Arteaga said. “We put the time into it. We put that extra effort that nobody wants to do anymore.”