Back around Cinco de Mayo, Delish.com published a list billed as “The 50 Best Taco Spots in America.” “And we never mess around when it comes to tacos, so you know these are legit,” Delish assures.
If you read the smallish print below those bold declarations, it turns out the list is actually just the most popular taco shops according to Foursquare users, or people who checked in to the spots on their phones. So this list might better be titled “The 50 Trendiest Taco Spots in America, According to Wired Millennials.” Or maybe “The 50 Best Tech-Mex Restaurants in America.” As of this writing, these were the top spots, but the list seems to shift depending on Foursquare ranking.
Let’s dig in, shall we…
Austin’s Veracruz All Natural comes in an number one. “Fresh and natural food=all the tacos, none of the guilt,” they say, as if the same could not be said of virtually every taco truck in Texas. You probably already know this would be in contention for the national champ (it came in at second place): Torchy’s, of course, Austin’s nexus of Tech-Mex. “The Taco of the Month special is not to be missed,” Delish gushes. “You never know what you’re going to get, but you know it’s going to be next-level amazing.” (As will your check, compared to a taco truck or taqueria.)
Austin’s Tacodeli clocks in at number seven. Per Delish: “The only two words you need to convince you to try this spot: breakfast tacos.” In Austin, that’s like saying of a library, “The only word to convince you to try this spot: books.”
“The tortillas are made from scratch, the meat is slow-roasted, and they use fresh fruit and sorbets in their margaritas, so you know it’s good,” Delish says of Dallas’s Velvet Taco, number 14 on the list.
Houston’s sole entry, Tacos Tierra Caliente, is a very fine taco truck that just happens to be posted up right next to the West Alabama Ice House, likely the Bayou City’s most famous bar. Says Delish, “Chipotle’s barbacoa has got nothing on this spot,” but you could say the same of literally hundreds of taco trucks and taquerias all over H-Town. This place just happens to have one of the best locations imaginable. Unfortunately, even Tacos Tierra Caliente was knocked off of the rankings by Foursquare users apparently seeking sub-par tacos.
And that’s it for Texas. Nothing from El Paso, San Antonio, Corpus or the Valley.
Nashville and Chattanooga wave the banner for Tennessee tacos. Joints in Boston, Columbus, and Kihei, Hawaii made it. With two apiece, Charlotte, Pittsburgh and Portland had as many top 50 spots as Dallas, and twice as many as Houston, and two more than all of South Texas.
This is not a list of the top 50 taco spots in America. This is a list of the top 50 taco spots favored by the sort of people who feel the need whip out their cellphones and check in wherever they go, an entirely different proposition. You did mess around, Delish, because this list is anything but legit.