Taco Tuesdays just got a lot better. Three new taco shops recently opened in Columbia, and each one brings its own unique flavors to the table. Paleteria El Tajín, Boss Taco and Taqueria Don Pancho are all giving CoMo locals a delicious taste of authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines that'll give your tastebuds a kick and keep you coming back for more.
Paleteria El Tajín
Paleteria El Tajín is not your typical taco shop. The family-owned restaurant takes pride in making authentic Mexican food and serving delicious desserts. Yoselin Herrera runs the restaurant with her sister and says that the pair wanted to bring something different to town. El Tajín opened in late August and has been thriving with an abundance of returning customers and high ratings.
El Tajín serves ice cream, desserts, snacks and Mexican street foods like tacos, enchiladas, gorditas, tamales and empanadas. Their most popular dish is their tacos with marinated meat — it costs between $2.50 and $2.75.
The tortillas used to make tortas are handmade, and Herrera’s mother prepares the mole sauce using her own special recipe. Some of their popular desserts are mangonada, which is mango ice cream with tamarind candy and mango pieces, and flavored paletas, a Mexican ice pop.
Originally a catering business, Boss Taco has opened its first storefront in downtown Columbia. The restaurant is run by Lindsey Spratt, who says that she wanted to bring real Mexican food to Missouri. Michael De Leon, the bar manager at Boss Taco, says that he considers their traditional Austin-style tacos to be more high end because they are homemade, making them unique. The food is prepared fresh daily and is considered Tex-Mex cuisine.
Boss Taco serves beef, pork, shrimp and chicken tacos. All of their meat is seasoned and smoked in-house. They also make nachos, chimichangas, quesadillas and a veggie "Bro-ritos." One of their most popular items on the menu are the avocado fries: buttermilk panko-battered avocado served with citrus aioli. Offered sides include green chili mac 'n cheese, Mexican rice, cilantro lime rice and refried black beans. Margaritas and cocktails are also made in-house.
Taqueria Don Pancho
On its first official day of opening, Taqueria Don Pancho had a line of customers out the door. This continued for the entire first week after opening in late August. Owner Francisco Rutiaga is from Durango, Mexico, and runs Taqueria Don Pancho with his father. The family worked for other restaurants before, but had never operated their own until opening Taqueria Don Pancho. Rutiaga says that people visit from the West Coast, Texas and Mexico and rave about how authentic and delicious the food is. Their food is so addicting that the eatery's slogan is “See you tomorrow!”
Taqueria Don Pancho serves tacos, burritos, quesadillas and nachos. They offer meat choices of buche (pork stomach), asada (marinated steak), al pastor (marinated pork), barbacoa (steamed beef), carnitas (braised pork), chorizo (Mexican sausage), pollo (grilled chicken breast) and discada (beef, pork, bacon, sausage, ham and chorizo). They also offer mango and lemon margaritas and vampiro Mexicano, a Mexican cocktail made with tequila and sangria.