TLO Restaurant Review: Los Tacos

Once upon a time in the Southside of Oklahoma City, many years ago, hiding in plain sight amongst divvy, working-class businesses along SW 44th was a much-loved little drive-in named Los Tacos that specialized in, shall we say…gringo variations of popular Borderland delicacies, aimed at the appetites of those that desire a little more than usual Tex in their Mex. They succeeded admirably.

Here’s a pic of the old digs:

But, like all good things, Los Tacos, and that location, eventually came to an end (it’s now a 7-Eleven) and the family behind the food went off into another business venture selling ephedra pills, leaving a Texas-sized gap in the hearts of their many regulars who would often lament about their overstuffed Sancho burritos and so on to anyone within earshot. It was a short-lived bon voyage, thankfully, as a few years later, Los Tacos was back in a new location at 1620 SW 89th St.

All that being said, this was honestly the first I heard about any of this stuff. But, nevertheless, from the lips of their passionate fanbase (a.k.a. TLO Editor Patrick) to my hungry ears, it seemed like an interestingly edible enough piece of local southside legend that there was no way I couldn’t haul ass out there and see just what all the hot fuss was about.

And what a hot fuss it was! Arriving about an hour before their scheduled 7 p.m. closing on a Friday evening, the line of hungry Southsiders was well out the door, the small lobby full of feemers wanting to order and those waiting for their orders at this carry-out only, tableless eatery. The cash-only menu was about as basic as it gets, offering the simplest options of burritos, tacos, nachos and so on, along with a few American options like hamburgers and hot dogs, true to their drive-in roots.

Just how good was los grub at Los Tacos Two?

If I’m being honest—and I always am—it was all pretty darn good for the most part, what can I say? Starting with the limited edition jalapeno chips ($2.49), these crunchy little brown beauties were a perfect down n’ dirty appetizer for what was about to come, thick-cut slices of hot peppers meant to be dowsed in cool ranch dipping sauce. It was a ballpark-inspired treat that I wish someplace like the flea market would start pushing down our collective throats. I bet it’d pair well with a red Icee while looking for brass knuckles and a used parakeet.

The two crunchy beef tacos ($1.25 each) were just the right step above corporate fast food offerings—I’d take them anyday over whatever is on Taco Bell’s dollar menu—loaded with that homemade zesty ground beef and all the requisite toppings, much like mom used to make on taco night which, as I’d come to learn, would actually be Los Tacos greatest personal asset.

Saving the most vaunted for last, the two tightly wrapped burritos that plopped into my lap with a heavy thud were rearin’ to go. The riotously thick beef burrito ($4.95), which was the size of small infant, was filled to spillage levels with chopped onions, cheddar cheese and that same special kind of savory homemade ground beef, while the cute and clever lettuce-filled Sancho ($4.55) was more of the same but with modestly spiced refried beans that made for a real solid brick of a meal.

As I sat back, thoroughly enjoying these decidedly (somewhat) Americanized variants of such classic (somewhat) Mexican staples, they reminded me of growing up in Texas, where during sporting events handmade burritos would be made by players’ mothers and sold out of a ramshackle concession stand…or perhaps they followed the passed-on and passed-down recipes of those old ladies who’d spend all day cooking chili and beans for a burrito fundraiser dinner at the local volunteer fire department…or maybe it’s just a taste of that old long-gone neighborhood drive-in that wasn’t much but it was enough for that neighborhood and that was all it needed to be. Cómpralo ya!

(Editor’s Note: Great news if you’re Toby Keith. While looking for pics of the old drive in, I learned they’re opening a new location in Moore. Of course, it’s called Los Tacos N’ Moore.

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However,  I wonder if I’d feel as wistful about their tamales? Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler.