Last visit: January 2013
Other DFW locations: Bridgeport
Total locations: Approximately 80, mostly in Oklahoma
It was roughly 5 years ago that I first wrote about Taco Casa, and our trips up to Durant, Oklahoma. I mentioned that one day I would write about Taco Mayo. And here we are.
Since my Dad was a traveling salesman (he sold industrial uniforms to large laundries), I spent many a time in the car with him - especially in the summers before I was old enough to get an off-school job. Oklahoma was one of his prime states, and we'd probably travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Enid, or Clinton at least 3 times a summer. According to their website, Taco Mayo started in 1978, and that's within one or two years of when I recall first going here. Dad was a big breakfast eater, and felt lunch was optional. I held the exact opposite view, so on those days he didn't have a client to entertain for lunch, I could usually arm twist him into taking me to the local taco establishment (he hated tacos - as long as he was allowed to smoke, he was fine - and you could do that in those days!). And the local option in Oklahoma was usually Taco Mayo. Since we didn't have them at home, I wanted to take advantage of the situation (and some 35+ years later, I haven't changed one bit).
Slowly, but surely, they are starting to penetrate the DFW market. A few years ago, they opened one up in Bridgeport, which makes for a nice getaway drive, but is entirely too far to grab fast food. And now, starting last summer, they've entered Justin. While not exactly around the corner, for those of us in Northeast Tarrant, a pleasant 25 minute drive up 114 (and further north on 156) awaits you if you're so inclined. And on this past Sunday, with the NFL Championship games starting at 2:00, Mrs. RJG and I were looking for a light lunch as well as a bit of a country drive to pass the time. Taco Mayo was the perfect solution.
Taco Mayo is from the old school of fast food crunchy styled taco stands. They have the usual menu that also includes soft tacos, burritos, nachos, and quesadillas. For places such as these, it really gets down to two things: How is the taste of the ground beef and how good are their hot sauces? Everything else is a variation on that theme. And it's on this front that Taco Mayo makes it worth the journey. Their meat has great flavor, with cumin standing out as a seasoning. Lettuce and shredded cheese are piled on top. The shell is appropriately crunchy. Like many of the taco chains, they provide the salsa bar that includes everything from a verde to a hot taco sauce. I'm quite fond of their hot - not so much for the heat level but the overall taste. I think the overall taste of the tacos are great. They're light and delicious. And for drinks, they have one of those newfangled Coke machines that allows you to mix and match different flavors for some 125 plus combinations.
If you're looking for a traditional taqueria or one of those fancier margarita fueled taco joints, then this isn't it. If you want a better alternative to Taco Bell - then give Taco Mayo a shot wherever you see them. If Justin isn't in the cards, there are at least half a dozen locations up and down I-35, right off the freeway, throughout Oklahoma. A perfect roadfood.
For purposes of Urbanspoon, I think I'll just add the Justin locale. I've been to many of them in Oklahoma, in particular the Paul's Valley and Oklahoma City (SE 44 and I-35) locations. But with a Taco Mayo so close now, I probably will look for another roadside locale to try next time I'm passing through the great state of Oklahoma.