Earlier this week, Forbes named Kansas City, Kansas, as the “true taco capital of the United States.” The story cited the Midwestern city’s fifty-plus taco spots and its vibrant Mexican American community. I love Kansas City—both of them. The region has a longtime Mexican presence. It’s where vaqueros drove cattle while teaching American cowboys how to do their jobs, as the folk song “El Corrido de Kiansas” chronicles. It’s also home to the Parmesan-topped Kansas City–style crispy taco, whose rich history I detailed in 2019. There’s no doubt that both KCs are excellent, important taco towns.
Still, to declare one of them the nation’s taco capital is laughable. If the title is based on sheer numbers, well—there are neighborhoods in Texas cities that have more than fifty taco joints. Short stretches of some Texas roads have more than fifty taco spots. More than that, though, to christen any one city as the nation’s taco capital is an impossible, reductive task. There are just too many variables—from specialization and diversity to the unquantifiably personal. Which taco does your city do best? How many taco styles are available, and how entrenched are tacos in everyday life and culture? No single city can plant a taco capital flag. That includes metropolises in the Lone Star State, where we love to bicker about taco city supremacy. We’re better than this. I could go on, but this is a taco news roundup, not a think piece. Let’s just eat our favorite tacos and celebrate the folks who make them.
Meanwhile, in other taco news …
A new report from the marketing agency TOP found that taco consumption has increased nearly 13 percent during the pandemic, with a fifth of Americans eating at least one taco per day. However, almost 25 percent of Americans don’t eat any tacos at all. At all! The report also found, unsurprisingly, that Taco Bell remains the most popular Mexican food chain in the country.
Congratulations to Mariachi’s Dine-In, which Fort Worth Magazine reports is moving from its original gas station to a much larger space that will seat nearly one hundred diners. There will also be a bar. The original counter spot opened in July 2018 and quickly stood out for its traditional mini tacos and plentiful vegan options. The Baja-style banana flower taco is a stunner. The move is expected to happen in just over a month. Bravo!
Also in Fort Worth taco news, Taco Heads is opening a location at the historic Fort Worth Stockyards. This will be the third brick-and-mortar spot for the operation that began as a corrugated metal-sided food trailer behind an Irish pub on a stretch of West Seventh Street. Taco Heads also has a location in Dallas.
Del Sur Tacos, with outposts in McKinney and Dallas’s Oak Cliff neighborhood, is opening a third location. The company announced the news via Instagram. No details yet on where the newest branch will be or when it will open.
In Dallas, E-Bar Tex-Mex owner Eddie Cervantes is spinning off a new concept on Lower Greenville. Eddie’s Tex-Mex Cocina will take over the shuttered Tacos Mariachi shop (pro tip: it’s down the block from an excellent gelato spot). The new joint, slated to open in late spring, is sure to please longtime Cervantes devotees, who have gobbled up his enchiladas, tacos, and margaritas since he opened the original Primo’s in Uptown in 1981.
Mexican American–owned Henderson & Kane General Store, in Houston, got a visit from Telemundo for the second season of the Spanish-language network’s Nuestra Mesa series.
The El Remedio taco truck owners announced that the company’s third rig is scheduled to roll out in two weeks. The San Antonio taqueria specializes in gigantic, seafood-spiked micheladas and birria de res. It’s one of the best in the state.
Taco whisperer Carnitas Lonja in San Antonio is opening a second location of its seafood offshoot, Fish Lonja, at Midnight Swim on the St. Mary’s Strip on March 12. The menu will feature fish- and shrimp-topped tostadas, cocktails, tacos, and more. José Sanchez, who previously worked at Cured, has been named sous chef.
Also in San Antonio, the construction plan for the next location of Rosario’s has spurred controversy. According to MySA.com, “The restaurant’s neighbors at Maverick Texas Brasserie have launched a Change.org petition to stop the building of a 20-foot wall, 6-inches from their patio. Per the petition, the building would render half of Maverick’s current dining areas usable.” Rosario’s opened in 1992 at St. Mary’s Street and Alamo. Its contemporary Mexican food made the restaurant and its Mexican American owner, Lisa Wong, famous overnight. Wong purchased the new location in 2018—following the departure of the building’s previous occupant, El Mirador—but a banner announcing the site’s future didn’t go up until September of last year.
Meanwhile in El Paso, Taco Shop is inching toward opening its second brick-and-mortar location.
Two North Austin food trucks were robbed at gunpoint in the space of about ninety minutes. Tortas y Tacos Dos Hermanos was targeted first, followed by another truck a mile away, Taqueria la Chilanguita Food Stand. According to the Austin American-Statesmen, one of the la Chilanguita workers hit the suspect with a hot pan and sprayed him with hot oil. Police could use your help in finding the suspect. He’s described as between 5-foot-8 and 6 feet tall and was wearing black clothing. He was brandishing a silver or black handgun. The Austin police department’s robbery tip line is 512-974-5092.
On Houston’s FOX 26, Tacos A Go Go‘s Marivel Gomez ran through some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, including beef fajita totchos:
A Facebook user’s request for where to find St. Louis’s best “Pot Roast Tacos with the Soup”—a.k.a. birria—led to a viral tweet and lots of great suggestions:
Facebook stay with some gems pic.twitter.com/8UnVkJJFWX— Baby, this is KeKe Palmer. (@DatDudeDarius) March 9, 2021
Cape Coral, Florida, is hosting its first taco festival at the city’s German American Club on March 27. Tacos will be $2 each. Awards will be given for Most Traditional Taco and the Most Creative Taco of Taco Fest, and the event benefits Cape Coral Animal Shelter. To our knowledge, this might be the first open-to-all, in-person taco festival held during the pandemic.
Gas station taquerias: they even have them in Georgia. Aside from tacos, El Serranito also sells the elusive cemita poblana, a regional sandwich from Puebla, Mexico.
Kansas City Magazine dropped its “essential K.C. tacos” list. It included one taqueria, Taco Cacao, whose new brick-and-mortar location has not opened yet. Writer Martin Cizmar praised Cacao’s birria as “mild and warming, its earthy flavors pairing well with the shop’s tart green salsa.”
St. Louis—based Mission Taco Joint will serve a toasted ravioli taco. The taco is a Parmesan-crusted hard shell filled with ground beef. “Mom’s marinara sauce” and shredded Provel cheese are in the mix too, with parsley and more Parmesan cheese to finish. The taco will be available at only St. Louis Mission Taco Joints, for one day only, March 14. For those unfamiliar with toasted ravioli, the pasta is a St. Louis specialty—meat-filled, breaded, and deep-fried—dating back to the forties.
Cajun tacos are on the rise. In St. Louis, Veritas Gateway to Food & Wine is serving a fried oyster taco on a blue corn tortilla, capped with a runny fried egg.
Phoenix’s much lauded Tacos Chiwas is leaving its current spot, a former Dairy Queen, and moving to a new location in another neighborhood. The move for the Chihuahua-style taqueria comes with some drama. Initially, owners Armando Hernandez and Nadia Holguin planned to expand at their original location. They partnered with a retail center and an architect, but construction costs quickly ballooned to more than they could afford. The project became unsustainable, so the couple found a new space—which just so happens to be another former Dairy Queen.
After a pandemic-induced hiatus, the Taco Truck Throwdown in Fresno, California, is back. It’s hosted by the minor league baseball team the Fresno Grizzlies (known as the Fresno Tacos during Tuesday home games) and will return to Chukchansi Park on October 23. Instead of the normal two-day music, food, and baseball shindig, the festival will be reimagined as the Taco Truck Throwdown Tour. Organizers have added pop-up events that will allow more trucks to participate across a longer stretch of time and limit capacity as we veer toward the end of the pandemic. Early-bird tickets are available at fresnotacos.com. Use discount code TTT10.
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Birria de res has made it all the way to Montreal, Canada. Maybe there it’ll come with chunks of poutine bobbing in the consommé?
On the subject of tacos in the Great White North, Moncton Taco Week announced via Instagram that forty restaurants have signed up for the festival in New Brunswick’s largest city. The event will take place from June 16 to June 30.