Saturday, Oct. 4 is National Taco Day which means tonight, we’re dreaming of warm tortillas from the griddle, brisket cooked to perfect tenderness and just enough grease, a sprinkle of cotija cheese, and hints of jalapeno.
In Texas, there’s nothing quite like a good taco; the craze is serious enough and the regional differences important enough that Texas Monthly has a bonafide Taco Editor on staff. DFW sports small taquerias, scattered in pockets far away from the trendy areas of town, while chefs from Dallas whip up gourmet, fusion twists on cheap street food. There are very few wrong ways to eat a taco, and Collin County offers plenty of the right ways.
In no particular order, here are eight of the best places to celebrate National Taco Day in Collin County from street tacos under $2 to fine-dining tacos best enjoyed with top shelf tequila.
Mexican Cactus Taco Bar
A brave taqueria that opened in the middle of the pandemic, Mexican Cactus Taco Bar specializes in gourmet street-style tacos and. Chef Isaac, who learned in the kitchen from his grandmother, describes gourmet street-style tacos are small and compact, but full of flavor. The menu ranges from fish tacos made with Atlantic cod to Wagyu carne asada to their pastor tacos, which they swear are some of the most delicious in town.
975 TX-121 Ste. 130, Allen | 972.908.3988 | mexicancactustacobar.com
Jamal’s Convenience Store
Jamal’s Convenience Store is well-known because of the buried treasure hidden at the back, a taco shop with five simple options: fajita, pastor, lengua, barbacoa and pollo. Each taco is $1.59. Extra grilled onions are 50 cents. Each is served inside slick, griddled corn tortillas with a pile of grilled onions, a whole jalapeño pepper and cilantro. No one stops at Jamal’s looking for fusion, modern twists or expressions of kimchi. They come to Jamal’s for lunch, plain and simple, quiet and grungy.
2901 K Ave., Plano | 972.42.-6154
Cookie’s Mexican Food
Cookie’s in downtown McKinney is down-to-earth, serving comforting lunch specials, like carnitas piled high on a plate, ready to be scooped up with warm tortillas. And of course, there’s no burrito on earth quite like a Cookie’s burrito. But Cookie’s serves tacos to-go: meat smothered in melted cheese in warm corn tortillas—or freshly grilled shells—lime slices and pico de gallo tucked alongside.
330 E. Louisiana St., McKinney | 972.542.3021
Marianas Taco Shop
Marianas Taco Shop in Frisco is a quiet, red-trimmed house with patio seating. They trade more typical Texas hints for California influences, evidenced by their popular fish burrito. But for tacos, one can’t go wrong with al pastor. Al pastor tacos feature thick hunks of meat cut from a roast that was marinated in various chiles, pineapple, onion, garlic and cinnamon until it turns a bold crimson, with a rich peppered edge, served with your choice of salsa, onion and cilantro, perfect for outdoor dining.
8981 5th St., Frisco | 214.705.9059 | marianasfrisco.com
Taquerias Cervantes is small and easily missed, buried in a 15th Street strip mall between a boba tea shop and a pho place. But it shouldn’t be overlooked. Their tacos, all served with rice and charro beans, are cheap, plentiful, and covered in fresh sliced radishes. They also have specialty tacos served on puffed tacos, which is a different experience than a typical street taco, but worth a try.
2729 W. 15th St., Plano | 469.543.0369
Ice-cold beer, no-frills street tacos garnished with lime: Rusty Taco’s relaxed atmosphere and taco obsession make for an awesome snack at a low, low price. There are 13 handmade street tacos, not including breakfast tacos which, by the way, are served all day. Everything, from fried chicken, to the classic Texican, is fresh, made fast, and hits the spot.
8000 Coit Rd., Plano | 972.244.4047 | rustytaco.com
Mexican Bar Company
A stylish, upscale restaurant at the Shops at Willowbend, Mexican Bar Company wins guests over with their sharable experience, which includes a selection of ceviches and tacos, tailored to every guest at the taco. One that absolutely cannot be missed is the hongos taco, a vegetarian taco that combines sauteed wild mushrooms, manchego cheese, and huitlacoche.
6121 W. Park Blvd. Ste. Rs-10, Plano | 972.972.4466 | mexbars.com
Copper & Steel Table and Bar
Copper & Steel Table and Bar at Hyatt Regency Frisco-Dallas is hosting National Taco Day with a taco flight that gives guests three different tacos on a plate. The first pairs achiote chicken with tomato, avocado and cotija cheese, and next is salsa verde and smoked brisket, and, finally, ancho barbecue boar meat accented with avocado crema and pickled onion.
2601 Preston Rd., Frisco | 469.598.1235 | hyatt.com