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I found the hard shell taco place in Silverlake -- Ricks.

I'm not typically an advocate of fast food joints, but there's this little stand in Silverlake, on the corner of Riverside and Fletcher, that is worthy of hound attention, called Rick's.

Yes, it's kind of divey, and a wee bit scary. Their drive-thru is makeshift. But their food is good. The burgers are on par with Fatburger, and their chili (i.e. chili fries) is better. They actually serve a chunky, meaty chili. My friends who like onion rings and veggie burgers testify that Rick's does those well, too. What totally got me was that in the Silver Lake area, no Mexican restaurant, either formal or casual, that I've been to so far did a good hard shell taco. Several do excellent soft-shell tacos, like Casa Diaz, El Gran Burrito, and Antojitos Denise. But the hard-shell taco is a rare beast in this hood, and even the standard, "old school" places didn't do it well. Maybe their proximity to the "real thing" got in their way. ;-) But not Barragans, not El Chavo, El Compadre, not La Cita, not any of the obvious or less obvious places do it, and sometimes all you want is a good hard shell taco.

I'd been to Rick's before for burgers, and like I said above, their burgers are on par with and comparable to Fatburger. But last time I was at Rick's, I saw that they also made tacos and burritos. Given the decency of the burger I'd had the last time I ate there, I decided to go all out and do Mexican at Rick's.

And I was not disappointed. Rather, I was happily impressed. The hard-shell taco was everything I'd want it to be -- home fried shell, kind of casually-tasty meat, but stuffed with cheese, tomato and letuce, and served with a tasty red chile sauce. It was good. It was actually very good.

Ricks, on the corner of Riverside Drive and Fletcher, in the Silverlake area.

And I was not disappointed. The beef taco was everything I'd want a hard-shell beef taco to be -- freshly fried shell, nice tasting beef, a taco shell stuffed with cheese, lettuce and tomato, and served with a slightly watery but very tasty red chile salsa. I was actually pretty close to hard-shell taco nirvana. I've been looking for a good one anywhere in the vicinity east of La Brea for AGES, and just now found one in my own back yard.

Don't get me wrong . . . I adore a great, authentic carnitas, carne asada, el pastor, or sesos taco. But once in a while I find myself really wanting the old-school version of the taco, and I just found it, after eight years of living in my neighborhood.


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  1. To me, hard shells are the best tacos and I've been eating them at Barragans since 1967. I am usually at the Barragans in Glendale or Burbank these days (when I come down to the LA area). They put itty bits of potatoe in their tacos...and with that great crunch...yum!!!!!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Shadow

      $1 taco night at Barragans 4pm-9pm....chicken or ground beef.

      1. re: monku

        What night? And, is this at the Sunset Blvd. location only?
        Thanks for any more info!!

    2. Any clue how late Rick's is open?

      1 Reply
      1. The cheap breakfast at Rick's is awesome. (About $5 for a ton of food.) In fact, I think I'm gonna head there now..

        1. Gosh, I didn't realize my post was so redundant! That's what I get for posting without reviewing what I'd written. The time to edit is past, unfortunately.

          1. Wow I am glad to see Ricks on chowhounds. I have been eating there for years!!! They have great breakfast for anyone who is interested. On a Saturday and Sunday morning the place is packed with locals who know where the good food is. My personal favorite is the breakfast burrito with bacon. They have the best potatos!!! A really great place all around.

            Ricks hours are not 24/7 for the dining room. The dining room i think closes around 11. I remember going late one night and it was closing.

            A great place!

            1 Reply
            1. I finally went to Rick's to try their hard shell taco.

              I was pleasantly surprised, it was pretty good. I love the way the shell was fried up and the meat was really tasty.

              It makes me wonder if Tops, Lucky Boy, or Penny's has some good hard shell tacos.

              Overall I might go back and get another one if I was craving a hard shell taco and I was in the area. But my heart still belongs to Pepe's and their hard shell tacos.

              5 Replies
              1. re: bigtums

                HI "bigtums",
                Where's Pepe's?
                I'm so excited to try the tacos at Rick's.
                Rick's has been one of those places that I've been going to for ages...I'll never foreget the most memorable evening at Rick's.
                I had been at an Aunt and Uncle's 25th wedding anniversary party-beautifully, luxuriously catered affair-had been eating and drinking all night...at about 1am, one of my Unlcles said: "you know what would be really good right now?"
                Another Uncles said: "some oinion rings from Rick's"
                Oh S--T!!!
                Rick's oniion rings with some great Champagne!!! Oh memories!!!
                And those burgers are great.
                I guess now I've gotta get a taco...time for a late lunch!

                1. re: tatertotsrock

                  I'd love to hear what you think about Pepe's tacos. Here's a link to their website:
                  May I suggest getting the combo plate so that you can try their rice. People usually love it (or hate it).

                  Have you had the Rick's tacos yet? Is the usual at Rick's for you going to be a burger, onion rings, and taco from now on?

                  1. re: bigtums

                    Oh My Stars!
                    Hey bigtums, just finished my taco from Ricks...oh yes, very good.
                    I had just gone to BLD (has been a good favorite of mine since they opened) for some breakfast-haven't been in about 3 months...sad to say, I left and felt a bit sad to do so...I'll save that story for another time (at least I got my chive biscuit)...
                    ....still so hungry (just took a "spinning class") and looking for my guilty pleasure breakfast of the week, I remembered "I still haven't tried Rick's taco"....
                    so, I drove, and I ordered, and I resisited eating it till I made it all the way home to Glendale (the long car drive was part of my taco challenge...if the oil that they fry it in is old, you wont always know it if you eat it right away when it's still hot...the rancid greasyness will show its true colors if sits for a few minutes).
                    Yummy!!!! No hint of ick!
                    Fresh!!! the crunch was still amazing; not one soggy spot; I loved the sauce that came with it; tons of lettuce; beautiful chunks of tomatos...I will definitely be ordering tacos from Ricks.
                    Next week, I'll try Pepe's...can't wait.
                    Oh, bigtums, my fast food quota is limited to 1 item a week so, I wont be getting all 3 items at once-darn. When I crave onion rings, I just go to Rick's and get 'em solo cuz I don't like to be distraceted from the crunchy-golden-goodness and lately (don't get grossed out) I've been going to Tommy's for my burger cravings...I'm a personal trainer and can't let my body show that I prefer to eat like a truck driver on occaision...he he.
                    I'll let you know what I think of Pete's.

                    1. re: tatertotsrock

                      I love Tommy burgers! You sound like my kind of trainer. One that is realistic about their diet and can enjoy a guilty pleasure once a week without getting all crazy about it.

                      I'm glad you enjoyed the taco. I predict the Pepe one will blow your socks off if it stays crunchy-which it should. You can order it with guac too and they really slather it on if you decide to go that route. I suggest getting it without. Can't wait to hear your verdict!

                2. re: bigtums

                  Yum. Pepe's. Their hard tacos are over the top. Fresh, delicious, and so overfilled that I've yet to figure out how to eat them "like a taco."

                  To Tatertotsrock below, I think the best location is the one in Fullerton because they also do the breakfast burrito flawlessly. The other locations pale in comparison.

                  821 N. Placentia Ave. in Fullerton
                  714 528-9291

                3. The best thing is the brekfast burritos its pretty huge and filled

                  1. I used to live a few blocks from Ricks in one of those houses on the hill behind Astro's. I could look at Ricks from my balcony. Anyway, my now ex-wife and I used to always eat there when we were drunk or hung-over as a curative. It worked great. We also used to eat there just for good food. My favorite was a burger and onion rings. My ex and my daughter loved the breakfast burrito. My daughter now goes with her friends and still buys breakfast burritos regularly now that she's old and moved out.

                    I recommend Rick's very highly.

                    1. Is the Rick's Taco ground beef?

                      1. I tried Rick's Taco today and it was delicious! The meat was excellent and adding the cheese on top of the meat and some with the lettuce was a surprise. When I saw cheese on top I did not expect it to also be included with the meat. Will go again for sure!