True Taqueria in Phoenix Area?
I used to live in San Francisco and there were a plethora of amazing taquerias with fresh tortillas, chorizo on the spit, homemade drinks and salsas. Simply amazing. Anyone from there knows Taqeria Cancun in the mission among others.
Are there any true taquerias around here?
Not a chain, not for tortas (although a good taqueria may make killer tortas too). I don't care where I have to drive to find it.
Used to live in SF also and have not found anything comparable here...there are good taco shops, but not the same type of Mexican food you find at the Bay Area taquerias, which I have found to be totally unique. Let me know if you find any.
Probably the closest thing you'll find to what you're looking for would be one of the Phoenix Ranch Markets .
There are many places with the elements you describe, fresh drinks, salsas, great tacos, etc.
Most places in PHX, however, aren't that much into presentation, such as smokey spits in plain view, and a tortilal flipping mamma up front. I'm not talking about higher end places with tableside guacamole - but the many small, independent places scattered all over. Part of the reason might be due to that very scattering... PHX is unlike more dense, walking cities where people often choose a place while walking by. Here, we're pretty much decided on a place before we walk into the door. And it also seems a lot of places are restricted by their space. It also requires a lot of cajones and adherence to regulatory stuff to put a lot of cooking in the open. We seem to be happy with a taco place that delivers great plate from a back kitchen, no questions asked!
If you want to watch someone making tortillas and others grilling meats in the open, check out Tradiciones. I join you in the desire to see more of the cooking in action and think it'll become more popular as consumers embrace the idea.
I don't think you know what I'm talking about. A taqueria that I'm describing is a basic hole in the wall. In the Mission in the SF, it is the street food. $5 burritos and free chips. If you are ever in SF, go to Mission and 20th street and hit up one of the taquerias. You will be blown away.
There are plenty of inexpensive hole in the wall Mexican places here that produce street tacos, but if you are looking for some place that cranks out Mission-style rice-and-bean log burritos, you are probably going to be better served by going to chains.
A few of my favorite stops for cheap street taco-type fare:
Taco truck on NE corner of Broadway and 7th Ave (next door to Gordon's Feed Store @ 600 W Broadway)
2831 N 24th St, Phoenix, AZ 85008
La Barquita Restaurant
2334 E McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85006
1405 W Southern Ave Ste 2, Tempe, AZ 85282
Zinc Bistro chef/partner Matt Carter has announced plans to turn the former site of Union Bar & Grill (Old Town Scottsdale) into something along those lines. And rest assured, Carter's got the chops to deliver whatever he sets his mind to. Knowing him and his pedigree as I do, I'm hoping for something akin to the street taco scene you find in places like San Diego, where vendors chop their crispy barbacoa on well-seasoned woodblocks right under their customer's noses, and serve their wares wrapped in grill-scored tortillas adorned with little more than a squeeze of fresh lime, shredded cabbage and cilantro.
Hurry up, Matt, I'm freakin' hungry.
Sounds great, but is it going to be priced for the Old Town/Tourist scene?
As a local, I'd love a place where I might go for lunch and spend $5+ for lunch, or $5-10 for dinner. But on other occasions, spend $5-10 on tacos and $50 PP on margs, beers and tequila shots.
But that's me :)
It has long been rumored that LGO Hospitality plans to open a taco stand, designed by no less than Will Bruder, on the northwest corner of 40th and Campbell. It's the small piece of land that is now an oddly configured parking lot. Now, I'm the last person to advocate yet another restaurant crammed in at that corner, but if it might be the type of place the OP is looking for -- if it ever gets built.