I know where you’ll be hanging out next Tuesday.
While writing this article, I taste-tested—aka polished off—tacos with traditional and unexpected fillings from an array of eateries (in the name of research, of course). And even though I requested vegetarian versions, this list keeps meat-eaters in mind too.
Wilco Fusion Grill
A relative newcomer to our cuisine scene, Wilco Fusion Grill is fresh—from its ingredients to its lively, beach-themed décor. Said décor is hard to miss, as a giant, multi-colored rooster stands tall outside its front door. And it continues to make an appearance inside, spray-painted on tables and in sticker form on glass-fronted fridges.
While I’m sure Wilco’s Latin fare will show up on our site, for today, we’ll focus on its soft tortillas, sharp sauces, snappy pico, and phenomenal Gouda. The Shrimp Tacos are a house favorite, featuring specialty shredded cabbage and chipotle crema.
Before we get too far into this story, let’s be honest: The closest I’ve come to whipping up “tacos” regularly was when I’d grab leftovers—excuse me, carefully choose ingredients—and plop them into tortillas for my little sister every time I babysat her. (Pulled chicken topped with Cheetos? Come on, people! I’ll see you on season 51 of “Chopped.”)
Nowadays, she’s trying to make up for wasted time and wasted tortillas by putting Mexican cuisine at the top of her favorite foods list. Oh, and she definitely doesn’t let me cook for her anymore.
But she did let me take her to Mojo’s Tacos when she came to visit. And I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear that she had a much more enjoyable experience than she used to when I was the one wearing the chef’s hat. But I digress.
If you’ve read my Best Franklin Food Trucks article, you’ll know about my unabated love for Mojo’s Korean Cauliflower taco. However, their menu doesn’t end there. Vegetarians will find a rare second choice in the Fried Avocado with pickled onions, and carnivores can indulge in the restaurant’s take on a regional favorite: Hot Chicken, delivered in one of their delicate tortillas.
Yayo’s OMG and Califarmia
Mojo’s isn’t the only taco truck in town. Spend time at The Factory at Franklin on a Saturday, and you’ll find the four-wheeled eateries Yayo’s OMG and Califarmia. Yayo’s OMG embodies its acronym, propping an Original, Mexican, Gourmet menu below its walk-up window. Tacos top it with the Mahi Mahi option proudly printed under an “as featured on Food Network” logo. And while you’re on a roll (tortilla?), stroll over to Califarmia for an Asian BBQ taco, complete with marinated cucumber, cabbage, and carrots, and a gochujang-based sauce.
Oscar’s Taco Shop
We’ll step back into brick-and-mortar with Oscar’s Taco Shop, located on the waterfront in Westhaven. But we haven’t stopped rolling quite yet. As you stand in the line of people eagerly waiting to order, you’ll notice a few things—the beef-filled Rolled Tacos on plates piled with lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese being one of them. And you can’t miss the art. It’s in every corner of the small shop. There are textured paintings on the walls and vibrant patches of pattern from floor to ceiling. Even the drinks are pretty: A syrupy Jamaica, its color reminiscent of red wine, is available to accompany your meal.
When you head into Herban Market, prepare to be enveloped by the sweet and the spicy. The sweet comes from stacks of unwrapped, locally made soaps and candles arranged on a wooden table by the door, and the spice emanates from its olive oil Tasting Bar.
Once you’ve inspected (and sniffed) all the goods, place an order for Breakfast Tacos. You’ll receive sturdy corn tortillas filled with fluffy eggs, creamy avocado, mozzarella, and a layer of cilantro, plus beans and bacon for meat lovers. Or, go for the Birria Tacos, which come with a bowl of broth.
Just around the bend lies Sopapillas, and you’ll hear it before you see it. As patrons enjoy thin, crunchy chips and citrusy salsa, their chatter blends with upbeat pop. Slide into one of the lantern-lit booths and order some of its unique offerings. Go for the Chicken Fried Chicken taco topped with—wait for it—Southern gravy and a honey drizzle. Or stick with what you know and get the Carne Asada, which is aged for 21 days and served as a street taco.
Pueblo Real, located in an unassuming strip mall, may not immediately catch your eye as you drive by, but you’ll be glad you dropped in. The tacos are classics: chicken, beef, al pastor, and more. Pick the corn or the flour tortillas as your vessel.
I was assured and confirmed that both are delicious. Once you’ve finished your final taco—hopefully your last bite was a gooey, cheesy one and featured an aromatic grilled vegetable or two—walk around the corner of the squat building to end with a popsicle from Paletas Tocumbo.