Three Years of Taco Trucking – A Look Back

bethia woolf, jim ellison, andy dehus

This month marks the third anniversary of Taco Trucks Columbus. We’re grateful in the extreme to all of you who have participated in this little endeavor of ours, be it as readers, truck-goers, commenters, or truck spotters.

As we look back on the past three years, we can’t help but be struck by how much something as simple as starting a blog has profoundly influenced the lives of all of the blog’s participants… often in ways we never would’ve imagined. Please allow us the indulgence of recounting:

Taco Trucks Columbus began as an OSU geography class project for Bethia. The class was Latin American Geography, and the project required research to be done within Columbus. Jim had noticed a few taco trucks around town and had been eager to explore them, so with this idea the topic was settled – Bethia was off to collect data, with Jim and I accompanying as tag-along culinary curiosity seekers.

We all enjoyed the taco truck food way more than any of us expected to, felt as though it filled a gaping hole for authentic Latino fare that was emphatically unfilled by more well known ‘Mexican’ food in Columbus, and wanted to let people know about it.

authentic mexican food columbus ohio

Within a few months of beginning the blog, it was clear that taco trucks captured the imagination (and taste buds) of our increasingly large readership. The interest fueled our desire to continue with the project. Meet-ups for our blog readers were thrown, funds were raised for Latino charities, and a good time sure seemed to be had by all. We routinely took journalists and the curious among our friends on impromptu tours of the trucks.

taco truck meet ups

Taco trucking took us to a lot of areas in town we’d never been to before, and we couldn’t help but observe how many restaurants were in those areas. Moreover, we really couldn’t ignore the fact that few to none of them were getting any press… I mean, some of them had to be good, right? And, given their wide ethnic diversity, they had to expand upon the range of novel food offerings in town, no?

With our curiosity pointed in that direction, alt.eats.columbus (as in, alternative to what’s been covered in Columbus) was begun. Our hunch was correct – there was a lot of great immigrant kitchen food to be discovered.

Another unintended consequence of TTC was born of the popular conflation of taco trucks with food trucks in general. There was a presumption among many that we’d naturally be on top of developments among the rapidly growing non-Latino mobile food vendors. We really weren’t, at first, but once again it did seem to be something food-related that wasn’t adequately covered elsewhere.

And that’s how Street Eats Columbus came to be. That is also when, I suppose, the unifying theme of our blog work became explicit – to discover and expose, to the extent we could, everything food-related in Columbus that wasn’t widely discovered and exposed otherwise.

Which, when thought about in the abstract as such, could easily go in all sorts of different directions.

Like, for example, Columbus Food Adventures. Having discovered so many food options that we believed to be of real culinary value and interest, Bethia and I came to believe that a food tour business would give us a new means of exposing people to the restaurants, foods, and people behind them that we’d become so passionate about. And, to be perfectly honest, it provided an opportunity to make a living off of something that, up to then, had been a compensation-free endeavor. Both Taco Trucks Columbus and alt.eats.columbus have tours based upon them.

columbus food adventures tours

Having served just shy of 3000 tour-goers since July of 2010, we’re solidly entrenched in this new and enjoyable career of ours. As we suggested previously, we never could’ve seen that coming!

And then there’s Jim (aka CMH Gourmand) – a man who has forgotten more about Columbus’s food history than the rest of us will ever know. And, a man who, like many of us, had achieved a position of career comfort that kept the bills comfortably at bay while perhaps failing to make best use of his passions (this is certainly true with respect to his enthusiasm for all things food-related).

That is, until last October, when he signed on with the ECDI as the coordinator of their Food Fort program. Now, Jim is helping to shepherd the next generation of mobile food vendors into existence, as well as participating in the team that is building out a new incubator kitchen and providing technical assistance to new and existing food ventures. Thanks, in no small part, to Jim’s tireless efforts, we expect this to be a huge year for ‘street eats’ in Columbus!


The above amounts to a lot of reminiscing and ‘inside baseball’, but it’s a string of thoughts with a point: all of these somewhat improbable and positive developments are the result of your enthusiasm for our work, specifically starting with this blog. We thank you sincerely, we thank the all of the great folks that run the businesses that give us such great material to work with, and we look forward to sharing the upcoming taco truck season with you!

All of our best,

The Taco Trucks Columbus Team: Jim Ellison, Bethia Woolf, Andy Dehus

Columbus Food Adventures 2012 Taco Truck Tours start on April 1st. For more information or to purchase tickets online click here.

mexican food in columbus


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We Love Los Guachos….and so does everyone else.

Los Guachos has been in print quite a bit over the last year. It is well deserved. Of the hundred or so Taco Trucks that have come and gone as well those that have stayed and made a living, Los Guachos has consistently been among the best. The guys at Los Guachos have also done the best job of crossing over to the Gringo mainstream without compromising their food or culture. Earlier in the year they were in Maxim Magazine (with a quote from the “annointer of good things, Roland K. The Pierogi King of Columbus) Five Best Dinners from the Maxim staff . Most recently, Los Guachos was noted as the best in the Midwest and fourth in the nation by Every Day with Rachael Ray. Now think what you will of the Food Network celebrity but it is acknowledged that her staff do a good job at finding the best of the best. In this case they were dead on. So check Los Guachos out at their trailer on the west side or try them any day at their brick and mortar restaurant at Bethel Road and Godown in Northwest Columbus.


Filed under La Vida Taco

Quicho from Taco Nazo in the News!

Taco Nazo has been one of our favorite taco trucks since we started this project. Quicho is always happy to help out with any help we need with a bike tour or TV appearance. He generosity and freebies for El Dia de Pavo and other events is legendary. He is also a heck of a nice guy that does a lot for his community. There is a small minority of people in Columbus that view Taco Trucks as lawless, non tax paying banditos stealing from society. Quicho is a great example that such is not the case. This is an article from the Hispanic Chamber of Columbus. We are long overdue in updating the Taco Nazo post so look for that this year.

Tarcisio “Quicho” Perez is the owner of Mexican taco truck, Taco Nazo. A little research on Yelp and will reveal what many of us that have tasted Taco Nazo already know. Taco Nazo is one of the best in Columbus. This May Taco Nazo will celebrate its seventh year in business.

What some people don’t know is that Quicho is passionate about Soccer and the community. I thought Taco Nazo’s name derived from being a great taco but it’s more than that. “Taco Nazo”, explains Quicho, “refers to that amazing kick with soccer cleats”. For my information, cleats are called tacos in Mexico.
Quicho was a minor league soccer player in Mexico. He is an advocate of women soccer. He promoted and coached a woman’s soccer team with great success. Last year Quicho started training young children to play soccer and partnered with Jorge Lasso, an Ecuatorian futbol professional with a bookkeeping business known as ABD Bookkeeping. It’s very encouraging to hear a proud Quicho telling how boys and girls train and play together, how children’s lives become more active and they become more confident. Join me in congratulating Quicho and Jorge in incorporating Latin Star Soccer. They are hoping to raise funds and sponsors to continue impacting more children in the community… and win more games.

To get involved get in contact with Quicho or Jorge.

Visit Taconazo at 2200 East Dublin Granville Road. They are open from 10AM to 9PM in the Winter and from 10-10 in Summer.

Quicho’s phone number is 614 390 9166.

Jorge Lasso’s number is 614 403 4136.

Hmm…maybe we should do a fundraiser to help this great cause. What do you think?

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Filed under La Vida Taco

Memorial Fundraiser at Los Guachos

Information from the Los Guachos facebook page.

On the morning of Sunday November 6th, Maria Garcia, Marianna Zhumi & Maria Saico, were heading home after completing their shift at Park Street Cantina, They were southbound on Wilson Rd. when a northbound suv crossed the center line and struck their car, the suv driver and a passenger jumped out and ran off before deputies arrived, because beer cans were found inside the suv, authorities suspect that alcohol was a factor in the crash, so far, the suspect have not been found.
Zhumi was dead at the scene, Garcias died at the hospital and later Saico passed away on Wednesday at the Grant medical center.

Here is the news video from FOX 28.




Filed under Meat Up

El Halcon

behind 3000 Sullivant Ave
Open 11am – 10pm, 7 days/week

Click here to map it! 

(update – it’s hard to spot from the road but it is behind the building in between La Bodega Market and Koki’s tortilleria). Wide menu with some unusual offerings. All tacos are $2).

It’s always a pleasure to be able to share a good new taco truck with our readership, and El Halcon is good.

It’s also brand-spankin’ new, and as clean and tidy as any truck we’ve ever seen. The owners started with an unmodified trailer and outfitted it with their own kitchen which, somewhat atypically, includes a full gas range in addition to the typical plancha (flat cooking surface). We’re eager to see what their plans are for that!

Portions are generous. The tortillas for tacos are larger than the usual, and are filled with a surprisingly large quantity of meat. Three of their tacos would make for a full meal.

We’ve never seen lengua served like this at a taco truck before (above, left) – literal slabs of it piled high. It was tender, juicy, and thoroughly flavorful. The carne asada, right, was also solid.

Having passed our usual taco truck test order with flying colors, we moved into more adventurous territory. ‘Zazonada’ was a term we’d never come across, so a zazonada taco was next. Appearance-wise, it struck us as little more than carne asada tossed with a sauce, but the char of the beef mixed with the deeply umami quality of the sauce meant that the whole was resoundingly greater than the sum of its parts. We suspect there might have been some soy sauce in there somewhere, but whatever it was (and the owners aren’t telling)… it was delicious.

As was their sope, which we tried with chorizo. The whole thing was good, but the masa base was exceptional – crispy on the bottom with a tender interior.

The shell of their gordita was similarly satisfying. We tried their ham and cheese version, and thought it would be the perfect thing for someone who wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about latino flavors. You could imagine someone selling these as an alternative to the traditional grilled cheese and doing well. El Halcon also sells a wide variety of more traditionally filled gorditas.

On a second tasting trip the focus was Tortas. The sandwiches are large, loaded down with the meat of your choice and plenty of toppings. Having sampled Tortas from Geoegesville Road to Cleveland Ave, the El Halcon Torta rates at the top.

Ready to take a trip to Broad & Harris yet?


Filed under Taco Truck

Mr Grill Tacos

taco trucks columbus, west side columbus taco trucks

1060 Georgesville Road (near SSA Office) and Growing Solutions Garden Center.

near Georgesville Road and Clime Road


Click here to to map it!

This truck has been here for at least 5 years but with new owners and a different menu we decided to re-post it.


Mr Grill has a fairly standard menu with a good selection of meats. The one more unusual item is the migada. Usually a migada is a 4 inch diameter hand made corn base with pinched sides, topped with beans, meat, lettuce, tomato, sour cream and cheese. The term migada is also used by La Popular but most trucks call this dish a sope. The migada at Mr Grill at Mr Grill is much larger and fills the whole plate – which made the price make sense (usually they are $2-2.50). It was similar to a huarache but round. The migada also had avocado as well as the usual toppings. It was good but the size made it a little unwieldy to eat without silverware.

migada columbus giant sope

The tacos and gordita that we sampled were also good. The gordita shell was very fresh and not greasy. Meat-wise we particularly liked the buche and the carnitas was good too. Mr Grill offers 3 different salsas tomatillo, avocado and chile de arbol.

taco trucks in columbus

The highlight of our visit to Mr Grill was dessert. Not many of the trucks offer dessert items, but Mr Grill has mini cheesecakes and home-made flan. The flan was really good with a wonderful silky texture and exceptional value at $1.50 (the mini cheesecake was $1).

taco truck dessert



Filed under Taco Truck

Taqueria La Fonda

east side taco trucks columbus

3330 E. Broad Street
open everyday except Sunday from 10.30am to 8pm.

Click here to map it!

Taqueria La Fonda is a good addition to the East Side taco truck scene. It’s located on the North side of East Broad Street just east of the intersection with James.

Offerings include the standard tacos, tortas and burritos as well as tamales and crispy corn tortillas (think taquito or flauta) – either chicken or beef served with lettuce, cheese and crema. The tamales (we had red) were good – plump, light and moist.

columbus mexican food

They also have sincronizadas which are similar to a quesadilla but contains ham and cheese. Usually, in our experience, a sincronizada is made with two tortillas stacked like a sandwich but as you can see this one was one large tortilla folded.

taco trucks columbus

Meat options include chicken, al pastor, chorizo, steak, barbacoa, lengua and chicharron stewed in green sauce (pictured below with a taco de lengua). Chicharron guisado is in our opinion one of the more challenging taco truck dishes.

taqueria la fonda columbus

There is a good selection of tortas with some additional meat options.

taqueria la fonda ohio


Filed under Taco Truck