Casita Taco es bueno

There really is no substitute for Maria’s Taco Xpress, especially when it comes to weekend hangover cures. But my workday breakfast taco quests at Maria’s are increasingly thwarted by construction-constrained parking and rush hour traffic. Through the red mist of traffic frustration, I recently spied Casita Taco and its copious parking, and opted for its unproven convenience.

Casita Taco is located at 2310 S. Lamar, just North of Maria’s in the distinctive lime-green strip mall alongside Swerve and a tattoo parlour. Its narrow space and handfull of small tables suggest an upscaled taco shack rather than restaurant, although they share Swerve’s funky exterior deck for those who like a little sit-down sweat with their tacos. Thus far I’ve sampled breakfast and lunch tacos, all cooked to order and tasty without being overly-salted. The tacos were refreshingly basic — a meat-only affair for lunch — which leaves room for the pico and homemade tomatillos to do their delicious thing. Next visit, I’ll sample one of the “gourmet burritos” and see how Casita Taco fares further up the Mexican food chain.

As parking spaces and funkyness disappear over at South Austin’s cherished taqueria, it affords a contrasting view of how new businesses navigate the changing face of South Lamar. The Walgreenification of Taco Xpress represents the high end re-development end of the scale, while one or two portable taco shacks keep things basic squatting in transitional lots. Casita Taco sits somewhere in between, as a simple family-run joint renting out newly urbanized digs. This would seem to be the shape of things to come as open space and cheap land become increasingly scarce along Lamar. It takes a lot of breakfast tacos to pay for trendy paint and fixtures, which might work for established joints like Maria’s but becomes an increasingly difficult venture for Mom and Pop to start. I hope Casita Taco is around long enough to find their own groove.

2 Comments so far

  1. Donna (unregistered) on July 18th, 2006 @ 11:53 am

    I go to Casita’s Tacos at least 3 times a week for lunch or breakfast. The owners and staff are so super friendly and the tacos are very good. I too hope the little place gets some recognition, it’s a nice alternative to the overcrowded taco xpress.

  2. Rantor (unregistered) on July 18th, 2006 @ 12:01 pm

    This is where Indie Pop was last summer. Sic transit gloria.

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