Fat tacos

Frequent customer Ivan Rubio enjoys the Tilapia Hawaiian style with white rice and salad.

Frequent customer Ivan Rubio enjoys the Tilapia Hawaiian style with white rice and salad.


El Gordo Taqueria is open Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I’d noticed a taqueria sign up on the old Landrum’s on Rock Boulevard and was immediately interested. I love Mexican food, and the building itself has always intrigued me. It’s a strange, small building that was shipped in on a railcar. The building was once a diner and the feel remains, with counter seating around an open grill.

My friend Brett and I took a seat on the stools and were immediately given menus by the friendly cook, who is co-owner of the business along with his wife. The menu has a lot of non-taqueria type items, such as chicken salad and turkey sandwiches, and the owner told us he could cook us things not on the menu, including burritos, tacos, enchiladas, etc. We were brought small bowls of fruit salad filled with melon and watermelon. It was unexpected but appreciated.

While munching on fruit, we decided what to get. I went with two pork tacos ($1.99 each) while Brett went with a shredded beef burrito ($6.99). I liked watching my food made on the grill. The owner has obviously been cooking for some time, because his hands were flying while he flipped the meat and chopped ingredients. Watching the meat sear on the grill made my mouth water. When my plate with two stuffed tacos arrived, I was ready to tear in, but was distracted by the huge burrito in front of Brett. Like the tacos, the burrito was stuffed with meat but was also topped with red sauce and cheese. A pile of home style potatoes with red and green peppers accompanied it. I was pretty jealous I didn’t have a big old burrito and sulked until he cut off a huge piece for me. The burrito was amazing with tender meat, refried beans and lots of cheese but mainly lots of meat. The potatoes were cooked well, and I liked the large pieces of peppers.

After turning my attention back to the tacos, I realized I shouldn’t have been entirely jealous of the burrito because these tacos looked delicious. The corn tortillas were stuffed with shredded pork with a slight spice. Piled on top of the meat were pickled red onions, cilantro and chopped white onions. The pickled onions had a great tang I enjoyed, and I began to wonder why all tacos don’t have pickled onions. Everything from the tortillas to the cilantro tasted fresh.

We got to watch the owner make lots of food while we ate ours and everything he made looked delicious so Brett and I made vows to come back and try breakfast sometime. We also spent some time chatting with both owners, who are extremely friendly. I found out that El Gordo has only been open a month which surprised me but also made sense given the incomplete printed menus as well as the sparse decorations. El Gordo seems to have a bit of an identity crisis where diner-type meals are being served when the emphasis should focus on taqueria items. Additionally, the décor is all over the place with black and white checkered curtains, some Tuscan items and then a random poster of banditos, but who cares about that when the food is so excellent, the service so friendly and the restaurant so clean? El Gordo is definitely on my list of places I’m coming back to.