Even before Thanksgiving and Halloween arrive, we get to celebrate another beloved fall celebration - National Taco Day! In honor of this glorious excuse to indulge in one of our favorite dishes I went to sample 3 of the top rated McKinney eateries offering Mexcian street style tacos: Mr. Tako, Taco Crush, and Del Sur Grill. I mean, it's a hard job but somebody's gotta do it.
At each spot I went straight to the counter and asked the employee working the register what they would recommend. Whatever they said first is what I ordered! Luckily for me, they all suggested different varieties so I got to try a little bit of everything: steak, chicken, and barbacoa.
The first stop on my Tour de Tacos was Mr. Tako; that's taco with a "k". It's in a shopping center on the corner on Route 5 (McDonald) and 380 (University), which is only about 1 mile from the Square. Don't let the current state of the shopping center fool you - the facade of the building is undergoing a bit of a facelift so you have to see past the construction. Luckily, Mr. Tako is open during the updates and its regular customers are thankful.
There is nothing fancy or trendy about Mr. Tako. Their décor consists of 2 TVs on the wall and a jingle bell door chime leftover from Christmas. Yet this stark hole in the wall spot still feels very clean and welcoming when you enter - the friendly employees who greet you as soon as you open the door probably have something to do with that!
The employee who gave me his recommendation didn't hesitate when I asked what to try - the California. It's a steak taco with pico, grilled poblano peppers, and cheese served on a flour tortilla. He brought it out with a lime wedge and a bottle of their homemade green hot sauce. Without the sauce the taco is really good - you can taste the smoky peppers, the flavorful chopped steak, and the pico is refreshing. But add that green hot sauce and lime juice and it transforms into something amazing! It's just the right amount of heat and acidity added to the bright flavors already in each bite. Spoiler alert: it was my favorite taco of the day!
My next stop was Taco Crush, on Eldorado and Hardin. Aesthetically it has a completely different feel than the other two spots.
It is in a shopping center, but there is a nice covered patio with stringed lights, and the spacious interior is clearly designed with an industrial vibe. I even asked if it was part of a local chain, because it felt like a brand in a way the other two places didn't. (Turns out it's not a chain - it's a single independently owned restaurant). Something else that makes Taco Crush stand out is… drum roll… they serve beer and margaritas! Seriously, what goes better with a taco than that?
I was advised to try the fried chicken taco so that's precisely what I did. 2 juicy crunchy fried chicken strips came out in a corn tortilla LOADED with lettuce, tomato, cheese, and their "spicy avocado ranch dressing". This was a messy taco, but worth the extra napkins. It was hot, crispy, and satisfying although next time I'll grab some hot sauce to add because the avocado sauce wasn't spicy at all.
Del Sur Grill
My belly was getting full but, for the sake of the blog, I pressed on. 😉 My final stop on the Tour de Tacos was the elusive Del Sur Grill. You know the one. You've heard about it, but probably have never been there. It's in a gas station. ("A gas station? Ewwww" ←- nope, it's awesome!)
Del Sur Grill is inside the Shell station on Eldorado and Lake Forest. The kitchen window is tucked in the back left corner next to the drink coolers, behind the one and only stainless steel table with stools for "dining in". This was unlike any other taco restaurant stand truck place I've ever been to. I probably looked a little lost because it is just so darn different that anything else in McKinney! So here are 2 insider tips to help you look a little cooler and more in the know than me: The kitchen has a $5 minimum for credit cards. Otherwise, it's cash only. Also you have to pay for beverages separately at the main gas station cashier - he's the one who has a bottle opener, should you need it
The friendly woman working the order window recommended the barbacoa taco right away. While I waited for my taco I grabbed a drink. Just a few minutes later I found myself a stool wedged between other patrons at the table in the middle of the gas station. I smiled as I smelled my delicious barbacoa taco with onions and cilantro on a corn tortilla. The corn tortilla was heated on the grill, nice and soft, and didn't fall apart at all. There were 2 bottles of homemade hot sauce on the table - the red has a smoky, chipotle flavor and the green is bright and spicy. I put red on half and green on the other half, and chowed down. The taco was classic and perfect. Everything was incredibly flavorful, hot, and fresh.
All in all, my trio of taco tastings was a success! I'd happily return to any of these three taco joints. And you? Do you have a top spot for tacos in McKinney? Comment below, share your faves, and let's taco 'bout it! And be sure to tag your McKinney taco pics with #bemckinney so we can check em out!