El Fogoncito: Wednesday Deal and The Legitimacy of Taco Trucks

Take a look at the ad below. Note the deal on Wednesdays. Buy one taco Al Pastor and get one free. That is a great bargain. And it may seem familiar to some of you. It should be. The owners of Fogoncito are related to the owners of Los Guachos – it is a similar item and the same deal on a different day.

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You may also recall an earlier post, where we make the argument that print ads show the change in attitude towards and the business model of Taco Trucks. The times are still “a’changin”.

What will we start to see more of next?

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Super Taco Nazo (and Taco Nazo Revisited)

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2200 East Dublin Granville Road (Near Lev’s Pawn Shop)
Look for Walgreen’s sign
NE corner of SR 161 and Maple Canyon
Phone: 614.390.6346
Summer Hours Monday to Saturday 10 am to 10 pm
Winter Hours Monday to Saturday 10 am to 8 pm
Phone: 614.390-6346

We first wrote about Taco Nazo in 2009 when this site launched – and we have not had a chance to update the post since then. It is interesting to compare the 2009 listing with many listings we have created since then as our knowledge has grown and so has the sophistication of the taco trucks of Columbus. No Latino Mobile vendor epitomizes that more than Quicho from Taco Nazo…..I mean, Super Taco Nazo.

Quicho took what he learned from years in the Taco Truck trade and incorporated that knowledge into the Super Taco Nazo Trailer. He has a better layout inside that has a lower serving window and less hassles than his original truck. He is working on the original Taco Nazo to make it a true mobile Taco Truck for corporate lunches and catering.

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A brief note about the food, it is among the best in the category of standard Taco Truck fare, easily in our top ten, probably in the top five of at least one of the Three Taco Trucks Amigos. Taco Nazo always wins in consistency. This is a frequent introductory trip for first time Taco Truck adventurers and especially those that are skeptical of mobile Mexican Cuisine. The large quesadilla has never let me down when hoping to have a gringo greenhorn try out a truck and want to come back for more.

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For the Taco Truck Columbus creators our relationship with Quicho and the truck goes long and deep. Although we have not updated the listing for Taco Nazo in years, this vendor has been the most frequent flyer for mentions on the website and in the community as well. Join me for a trip down memory lane.

There are two counterintuitive and unwritten laws for Taco Trucks: 1) Most of the vendors are not mobile 2) Due to a combination of language barriers, cultural differences and etc., many taco truck owners are not the most, shall we say, consistently time conscious. Quicho from Taco Nazo has always been there when we needed him to help spread the word about these mobile kitchens. Quicho is no slouch when it comes to customer appreciation, every Thanksgiving, he hosts a Dia del Pavo (Turkey Day) with free tamales, atole and other goodies for old and new customers alike.

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When we needed a truck to be open at 5:30 am for an early morning television show – Quicho was there and ready to serve. It also connected us with new-found pal and now Foodcast comrade – Johnny DiLoretto. Anytime we needed a vendor for a bike and car Taco Truck tour event – Quicho was ready, willing and able to participate and add to the festivities often with some incredible cakes.

The highlight of the early years was pairing Rick Bayless with Quicho for a special event. We are not sure which one was more thrilled with their meeting but we think it established some major street cred for Taco Trucks in our community. An article by Columbus Alive allowed us to do a tour of several Taco Trucks, including Taco Nazo and cemented a connection with G.A. Benton and photographer Jodi Miller.

All work and no play makes the Taco Truck website a dull read, so when Taco Drew conjured up a David vs. Goliath Taco Truck vs. Taco Bell Challenge – Quicho was ready for the battle. We don’t have to tell you who won that one.

We have observed, in many of our community connections that most successful businesses make a habit of giving back to the community they serve. Quicho continues to do so in his support of the Latino community as well as youth soccer leagues. Quicho is also one of the first go to with mainstream advertising for his business. On an end note (not final note, because Taco Nazo will continue to be on our blogs and in our tweets as the business keeps growing) it has been interesting to watch Quicho share his space and his wisdom with a new Indonesian mobile food vendor in the lot he has occupied since he started. Quicho has embraced the diversity of a new competitor as a collaborator and from the perspective of a peer and coach instead of with fear and distrust that he encountered when he started his kitchen on wheels years ago.

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Taco Nazo on Urbanspoon

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Columbus Taco Trucks: You’ve come a long way Bambina!

Taco Trucks crossed the decade mark in the Capital City last year. While still not quite mainstream, the acceptance of these kitchens on wheels has come a long way. While the non-taco truck mobile food scene has exploded since 2010, the number of taco trucks in Columbus has remained about the same, in the 35-40 range. However, the community has not stagnated. Taco Nazo, is now Super Taco Nazo as a trailer. The original Taco Nazo is being prepared to be a true mobile food vendor for roving lunches and catering around town starting in the spring. Juniors and El Mantinal Latino had added extra trucks for catering. The two spin-off brick and mortar restaurants from taco trucks (Super Torta and Los Gauchos) are still doing well. The Taco Truck has not been forgotten, not by any means.

This year something happened under the radar that deserves mention. Again, while still not embraced by Joe Average in Columbus, Taco Trucks have gone mainstream in one area….advertising. See the examples below.

nazo ad

From Crave Winter 2012 issue


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a Valu-Pak coupon…one seen over several months in Clintonville.

Taco Trucks are putting money into the local economy via mainstream advertising…that is assimilation as American as it gets.

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El Taco Peton II

columbus taco trucks

II
2374 East Dublin Granville Road
Columbus, OH 43229
(parking lot of Central Ohio Dental)
Friday-Sunday 11am-9pm

El Taco Peton is the sibling truck of El Taco Peton on Karl Road. Same owners, different but close location. It is currently only open on weekends.

chalupas columbus

El Peton has a broad menu with traditional taco truck offerings (tacos, quesadillas, tortas) but also some more unusual dishes:

  • Chalupas  -  a taco with mashed potato and onion and topped with lettuce and shredded chicken.
  • Huraches – a large masa base (sandal shaped and sized) topped with beans, meat, lettuce, tomato, cheese and sour cream
  • Pambazo – a sandwich containing a fried potato and chorizo mixture, lettuce, cheese and sour cream. (served here with shredded chicken as well)
  • Sope – a mini version of a huarache. A disc of masa (corn meal) topped with beans, meat, lettuce, tomato, cheese and sour cream
  • Pupusa – popular Central American stuffed corn cake usually filled with cheese, beans, meat or a mixture of the three.
  • Nopal is the pads of the prickly pear cactus and it is usually served grilled in strips.

el peton taco truck

Generously plump and not greasy pupusas served with a generous helping of curtido (slightly fermented slaw). The curtido was notably herby in flavor.

columbus mexican food

Pambazo sandwiches are usually dipped in red sauce and then cooked on the grill. That’s not the case here. The sandwich is good, it’s less messy to eat, but it’s not our favorite in this part of town. That honor goes to Don Pedro’s.

el peton taqueria

El Peton (I & II) are the only trucks we’ve found offering chalupas. It’s a shredded chicken taco with lettuce, finely chopped radish, cheese and mashed potato! It’s a good option for those who don’t like spicy food – or you can add some hot sauce to jazz it up.

El Peton also offers some Sunday specials: goat barbacoa and goat consume. Consume is a meaty soup made with the cooking liquid from the barbacoa and served with finely chopped onions and cilantro. It’s a great accompaniment to the barbacoa tacos.

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El Taco Peton I

tamales in columbus
5925 Karl Road (just north of 161)
Monday-Saturday 9-9, Sunday 9-6

Click here to map it!

There are now two El Peton taco trucks. The main (larger) truck is located on Karl Road just North of 161 and is open daily. The smaller truck on 161 is open on weekends only.

The menu is much the same at both trucks and to our previous post, but the Karl Road location has more Sunday specials: menudo, tamales, goat barbacoa and goat consume. Consume is a meaty soup made with the cooking liquid from the barbacoa and served with finely chopped onions and cilantro. It’s a great accompaniment to the barbacoa tacos. If you want the tamales you’ll need to get there early as they usually sell out.

El Peton has a broad menu with traditional taco truck offerings (tacos, quesadillas, tortas) but also some more unusual dishes:

  • Chalupas  -  a taco with mashed potato and onion and topped with lettuce and shredded chicken.
  • Huraches – a large masa base (sandal shaped and sized) topped with beans, meat, lettuce, tomato, cheese and sour cream
  • Pambazo – a sandwich containing a fried potato and chorizo mixture, lettuce, cheese and sour cream. (served here with shredded chicken as well)
  • Sinchronizada – is like a quesadilla but it is made with two flour tortillas instead of one folded one and it usually contains ham.
  • Pupusa – popular Central American stuffed corn cake usually filled with cheese, beans, meat or a mixture of the three.

mexican food in columbus

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Previous post from 11/07/11

El Taco Peton is the newest truck on the NE side of town. Parked in the lot of La Cabana lounge it’s open late at the weekends. This truck is the former Pupuseria Salvadorena and is maintaining the same location, so it is appropriate that they still serve pupusas as well as some standard taco truck fare.

el taco peton

These were the thickest pupusas we’ve ever had but they were well cooked and had a nice crunch to them. We visited El Taco Peton on a cold wet rainy evening – so apologies for the menu photo.

taco trucks columbus

The most interesting thing on the menu was the chalupas, something we haven’t seen on any other taco truck menus in Columbus (yes, we know – Taco Bell has something with the same name). The version of chalupa here was different than what we expected – a taco with mashed potato and onion and topped with lettuce and shredded chicken. I liked it but I’m a sucker for mashed potato. The chalupa is pictured below with a couple of tacos (al pastor and asada).

el taco peton

One of the other more unusual dishes was the pambaso (pambazo) – a torta where the bread is dipped in a red guajillo pepper sauce and the filling is potato and chorizo. We didn’t think that it was quite as good as Don Pedro’s – our favorite pambazo in town – but it’s still a satisfying sandwich.

el taco peton columbus

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El Mananero

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To the West of 3700 Sullivant Ave.
614.747.7051
Open 6 am to 6:30 pm every day

This new addition to the local taco truck scene adds some new items we have not encountered often. The most distinctive are the jugos naturales (natural juices). On the first recon trip we saw fresh bananas, oranges, beets and carrots that are chopped and blended to order. This trailer also serves breakfast (Desayunos), some seafood dishes (Mariscos) and a few baked goods. The staff was very friendly and the food all tasted very fresh. During the recon trip we sampled a Quesadilla – it was huge and filled with fresh chicken and lots of cheese. It was served with a small side of salad with sour cream and a very fresh green salsa. This trailer looks very promising so expect an update to this post at some point over the wintertime as we explore the menu in more depth.

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Taqueria El Tizoncito (The Blue One)

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1265 Bethel Road (address confirmed June 2013)
Open 11 am to 10 pm: Monday, Tuesday Thursday and (most of Friday)
Carry Out Number: 614.477.6523
Weekend Late Night: Euphoria Night Club
6252 Busch Blvd
7:30 pm to 3:30 am (Friday, Saturday and Sunday)

No you are not seeing double. There are two Tizoncitos. They are not connected. This one is blue. The other one is orange. This one is officially Taqueria El Tizoncito. The other one is El Tizoncito Taqueria.

Tizon can mean: live coal, brand, burning wood, firebrand or a smoldering piece of wood. A bit of taco truck history, long ago, before taco trucks Columbus was a concept there were rumors of a Taco Truck on Olentangy River Road that had been there for years….this is not the truck – it closed long ago, but is good to see a Mobile Mexican eatery back in one of the first Taco Truck haunts in town.

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El Tizoncito has a standard taco truck fare with a couple of additions – mainly Tinga in multiple forms including quesadillas, Pambazos and Tostadas. The service is friendly, the older woman who works during the day loves to chat if you can speak some Spanish and she was very intrigued by the existence of the other Tizoncito. We may write more about this truck when (if) we do a post about Taco Trucks at 2020 Night Club.

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