Introducing People To Dallas through a Taco Tour

 

The way I like to introduce people to Dallas is by neighborhoods, and the parts of town with their distinct identities. Dallas was built in the era of cars, and didn’t build up wholistic neighborhoods like Chicago or New York. Therefore we have less zones than older cities, and it’s relatively easy to share them with people.

Below is Chris Vogel’s wonderful visual interpretation of Dallas’s neighborhoods.

Chris Vogel’s map. https://twitter.com/imchrisvogel

It’s easy to fall into going to just restaurants and bars, but those don’t vary as much from city to city as you might think.

This guide is from my perspective, and the parts of Dallas that I think are interesting, and want to show.

The Taco Tour

A Taco Tour is a tour or Dallas where you pile in a car, or all ride your bikes from one Taco place to another, getting one taco per person at each place. There are so many great places to get tacos in Dallas that the tour can be all over the place. Generally, these recommendations will be Mexican street-taco style. The tacos will be served on small corn tortillas, and generally be around $1-1.50 each. Most people will be happy eating 3-5 of them over the course of 2-3 hours.

If you’re dedicating an evening to it, here are some of the ways you can go.

  1. Start at Park and Greenville and work south. El Centro Super Market is a good place to start because it feels foreign, while being right in the middle of things. There is a Taqueria inside the grocery store, just like in most Mexican grocery stores. There’s a money transfer station and a boost mobile store inside. You have to walk past a fantastic elote stand most of the time. The selection of the grocery section is unlike anglo grocery stores, especially the meat sections.
  2. Drive past the Taco Cabana. Notable: They make tortillas in each one. This location is 24 hours, and they have a bar for sides, so if you want a pile of cilantro and onions on each taco, you can.
  3. El Rincon Villa / El Taco right around the corner just south of Park on Greenville is a decent taqueria. They usually have 2-3 interesting electronic items for sale at prices lower than Costco. They also have great music playing in Spanish driven by a phone that you could play with while waiting in line, but you’re more respectful than that. They have a great pineapple taco.
  4. Point out La Michoacana just north of Blackwell as you continue south on Greenville. You could stop there, but it’s going to be a lot like El Centro Super Market. This is the most southern hispanic business that I know of in the Park/Greenville area. That area I find defined by Park between Greenville and Abrams.
  5. You could detour back to Shady Brook Ln, and go through the Village Apartments, which is a huge apartment complex with its own country club. That one apartment complex on about 300 acres houses 10,000 residences, and is a pretty great place to live in your 20’s. The Village drives Old Town, which is the Greenville shopping district between Caruth Haven and Lovers Lane. This is the headwater section of Dallas’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which is one of the biggest events in Dallas, and one of the biggest St. Patrick parties in the nation. 125,000+ people come to the parade, and many stick around on Lower Greenville to drink all day long, much to the chagrin of the neighborhood that donates their yards to the cans/urine that come with that party.
  6. This is a great opportunity to stop into Central Market at Lovers and Greenville. You should be 1-2 tacos in. This will be a 30-45 minute detour. This will impress and amaze most out of town guests. If the most expensive block of cheese you’ve ever seen is less than $10 and the only place to buy “decent” wine is Walmart, it’s quite a thing to see a $600 block of cheese, or a $800 bottle of wine.
  7. Continue south on Greenville and stop in at Rusty Taco at University. This is the most Austin-style taco place I’ve seen in Dallas. The tacos are good, and split the price gap between the taquerias, and gringo-taco places like Velvet Taco ($3-4 each). This is the eastern border of the SMU area, which is just across Central. If you want fish or shrimp tacos, this is the one stop on this list to get seafood.
  8. Continue south on Greenville. After you cross Mockingbird, this is what is known as Lower Greenville. This is the western-most part of East Dallas. Drive past Granada Theater. This is one of the best places in Dallas to see touring acts. It was a movie theater until about 2001. Pass St. Martin’s Neighborhood Bistro, which is one of my favorite anniversary-grade restuarants in town. Belmont is the northern border of Lowest Greenville. Turn left on Richmond, and the park on the street right in front of Chichen Itza. This is my favorite taqueria in Dallas. The tacos are among the best, generally finishing second in the aggregated voting. They also have good coffees. Their biggest business is their bakery, which supplies goods to many local restaurants. Their speciality is a milenesa taco, which is a breaded and fried pork taco. World of Beer is right around the corner, and a decent place to stop and switch to drinking, as there are a number of great bars walkable around, including The Libertine, Blind Butcher, The Truckyard. From El Centro Supermarket to Chichen Itza is 4.1 miles.
  9. If you have continued, take a right on Ross. The first place on the right after the CVS is Tacos Y Mas, the best fast-food-style street tacos in I’ve had.

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