Move over oh-so-passé taco truck, enter the new trend of gas station tacos, or “Texaco Taquerías.” Fuel and tacos, gas and grease.
Taquería (sometimes misspelled as taquiria) is a Spanish word meaning taco shop. In some localities, however, it is used to refer to restaurants specializing in burritos, although tacos and other dishes are often served as well. Taquerías had their beginnings as street vendors. However, many taquerías today have moved into buildings and become restaurants.
As reported by Katy McLaughlin for the Wall Street Journal, taco trucks have become so popular that they are already passé. However, there’s another way of merging motor vehicles and Mexican food: taquerias in gas stations. If you’ve never heard of such a thing, you’re apparently not from Texas, where it’s a well known notion that some of the best tacos are sold where you fill up your tank.
So from Texas to Portland, Maine, from Pasadena to Georgia, gas stations are becoming a quirky spin for restaurateurs that want a hint of nostalgia, where the food is the hero, but where you can potentially fill up your car and your belly. Another advantage for restaurateurs is having access to grease traps, a necessity for any taco or food vendor. One such restaurant conversion, El Rayo Taqueria in Portland, Maine, recycles all of its fry oil into biofuel; if you’ve got it flaunt it!
I personally love this trend, because if you’ve ever had authentic Mexican street food, what better place to enjoy a simple specialty than in an old quaint gas station converged with a restaurant. Okay, it might not be as mobile as a food truck, but bringing new life to something as mundane as a gas station makes perfect sense to me.
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Photo: Amanda Friedman for The Wall Street Journal