01 June 2010

Tuesday Taqueria: Tacos Y Mariscos Lopez no. 1

Special of the Week Tacos .99¢

This is the first installment of Tuesday Taqueria on the Ulika Food Blog. I had this idea sometime last year to review and map the all of taquerias along Nolensville Road in Nashville. If you have ever driven down Nolensville Road, you have undoubtedly seen the taco stands that dot the landscape. With so many choices it can be difficult to know where to get the best taco. That's where Tuesday Taqueria comes in. Starting at the intersection of OHB and Nolensville, I will trek North in search of the greatest Taqueria the south side has to offer.

For the purpose of these reviews we will only be focusing on the tacos. Most of these places offer a full menu, but we are just concerned with what they all have in common and that is tacos.

I will using the following criteria to review the taqueria:
  • Taste - Isn't that what it is all about? I generally get three tacos and I will rank the taste of all three on a scale of 1-5. With 5 being the highest possible score.
  • Price - Who has the best deal? Are those tacos really just .99¢?
  • Friendliness - Let's face it, I am the minority here and I no speaka the Spanish. So if I have a negative experience I will be sure to let you know.
  • Cleanliness - When it comes to mobile food carts, I realize that some people have a concern about the cleanliness. So I will let you know which ones have a perfect health score and those that could use some work. Keep in mind that there is competition all up and down the road, so if a business is not putting out a good product, they wont be in business long.
As I start my journey North along Nolensville Road, it doesn't take long to come to the first taqueria. Tacos Y Mariscos Lopez no. 1 is located right past the Lowe's and Auto Latino on the east side of the road. This establishment actually has a free standing building that looks very much like a converted house with a not-so-mobile vending unit that sits out front.

As you may have gathered from the name, there is more than one Tacos Y Mariscos Lopez in town. I was able to determine that there are at least six locations making this a little local chain. While for the purposes of these reviews I am just eating tacos, it is pretty clear that I need to go explore the menu at Tacos Y Mariscos Lopez. While I was there they were pulling off very nicely grilled whole chickens and other online reviews speak highly of things other than the tacos.

On this trip, I ordered uno asada (beef), uno chorizo (Spanish sausage), and uno al pastor (marinated pork) taco. I always order my tacos with everything. This almost always constitutes raw onions and cilantro, and then other garnishes vary from place to place. In this case I received some grilled onions, cucumber, lime and a red hot sauce.

The asada taco was pretty run of the mill. In this case the grilled onions and the hot sauce really kicked this taco up a notch. 3/5

The chorizo taco had great texture and a really great flavor. 4/5

The al pastor taco was good as well. You could really taste the citrus component in the marinade and it worked really nicely with the cilantro. 4/5

As you can see from the picture on the top, the tacos were on special this week for .99¢. The menu price is $1.25 and they do charge tax. I also generally tip $1 to the car hop / waitress. My total with tip was $4.30. So in reality, the tacos are $1 plus sales tax.

I had a great experience at Tacos Y Mariscos Lopez no. 1 and I did not feel unwelcomed. 5/5

One thing that stood out was that the pit that the meat was coming off of seemed very clean. I also had a direct view inside of the trailer and everything seemed in tip top shape. The Tennessee Health Inspection score: 98 and I give it a 5/5.

Overall I would recommend the tacos at Tacos Y Mariscos Lopez no. 1 and I really look forward to getting back there to try one of those whole chickens.

View Tuesday Taqueria in a larger map


BP said...

I love it!

Andrew said...

Thanks for this...I'm always wanting to try one of these but never know which ones to hit up.

Unknown said...

Andrew J.,
This would be a good one to try out.

Beth said...

So excited about you doing this! One of the things I miss most about my San Diego days are the tacos--especially my Saturday morning treks down to Tijuana to eat street tacos. There's nothing else like them!

Look forward to trying out all the stands that you have good experiences at~

Unknown said...

Can't wait for next Tues!!

Ulika BBQ, 2 months back, the "What the Pho" meetup group went on a taco truck tour on Nolensville. Rose, the WTPho leader did was go on the TN health score website, and type in Taqueria (for the name) and Nolensville (for the road) and printed out the list. We went to 4 of 7 between Harding and Tusculum, 3 of 7 were missing, and we were all full. I tried either pastor or chorizo tacos with everything and some green salsa topping. The one at the K&S was the worst and busiest due to many shoppers. The best was at the BP station just south of McCall St. It was the greasiest pastor most flavorful, and only $0.99. I ended up eating 2 here. The cleanest one with a nice and real bathroom that looks like a hut, and only one with shrimp tacos is the one set back and just north of Haywood Ln.

Both of these (now my 2 favorite taco trucks), I have never "seen" before while driving down Nville Rd because they are a bit hidden at 40 mph. But, with the TN Health Score list with addresses, it made finding these hidden gems easy. The health scores also had a "red" and "green" designation, which I think "red" is "closed" and "green" is open.

I am going to search TN health scores for locations of Taquerias on M/boro Rd and Charlotte too.

Unknown said...

I have now added the TN health score to the review, but I vow not to look before I eat.