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Taco trucks and street food in metro Detroit?

Last week while waiting for my sliders and onion rings to finish cooking at Telway Hamburger in SW Detroit (Michigan Ave at Martin, between Cecil St and Lonyo) I spied a taco truck in front of a zapato/shoe store across Michigan Ave. Curious, I ate there today for lunch, with Summerfield joining me. The sign painted on the truck says Taco El Toro, and the tacos are excellent. I'll be going back.

Does anyone know of other taco trucks or street food vendors in metro Detroit worth a visit?

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  1. Jeez, Barkis, I guess we'll have to go to New York, NY (a town so nice they named it twice) to sample street food vendors. For what it's worth, Ann Arbor has got a couple of street food vendors. I know there's a hotdog cart around the diag, and I've heard that the woman who ran Pilar's on South State, which she had to close, now has a cart. Perhaps Jim M can verify.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Summerfield

      Before running Pilar's cafe, Pilar had a cart. Not sure if she does now, it used to be in the Liberty Square Plaza. However, I think I may have seen her cart at the Farmer's market on Saturdays.

      A few years ago, there was an extremely nice woman selling tamales from a cart at the corner of Liberty and Maynard (near Borders). Her tamales beat Pilar's to flinders. I think she was from Romulus. Anyone know of her?

      1. re: charlesbois

        Thanks, charlesbois. Pilar prepares Salvadoran food so it's pupusas I'm after. And yes, now that you mention it, I think I've heard that she is at the Farmer's Market on Saturdays. I will have to check it out. Flinders?

        1. re: Summerfield

          British term, means something like splinters. In other words, totally obliterated.

          Another place to look for food carts is in front of the post office on liberty in A2. Just hot dogs though, but they used to, and may still do, fresh hot french fries. Ann Arbor tends to eschew street carts b/c we have little hole in the wall places like Le Dog or Oasis.

          1. re: charlesbois

            Plus, apparently the restaurant business people get pissed off at the vendors vis a vis market share. I think that there's been an attempt to suppress the carts. Hey, I'm gettin' hungry.

            1. re: Summerfield

              The carts are still here in Ann Arbor but have run afoul of downtown's sidewalk-ordinance gestapo. It's an ongoing struggle, but we've always had a few good ones. Sylvia, a.k.a. Pilar, is still around here and there, although I miss her wonderful restaurant, and she still does catering. There's an Indian food cart at South U and East U that I've never tried. I remember tamale cart #2 but don't know what happened to it. I think the town is still wide open for carts serving something other than hot dogs. In Berkeley, CA, there was a pasta cart for a while--guy had a big tub of fusilli, and your choice of four really good daily sauces, for about three bucks.

    2. Drive up and down Vernor and you may find a few more trucks. That truck across from the Telway is as much of a institution as Telway is to me.

      The only other street food vendor I love in the Area is Bert's Ribs in Eastern Market.
      http://flickr.com/photos/dreaminofbea...
      http://www.realdetroitweekly.com/artm...
      http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1180/5...

      1. there is a taco truck on waldo and parker st near that new playground they made on waldo st . they have great toastadas that are so good , wish they could have a taco truck in dearborn heights. the streets are just behind that shoe store , cause my son - inlaw's parents live right there on St. John , try them they are so good and try the horachata it is deliouis.

        2 Replies
        1. re: diana60108

          Have you seen this google maps link of taco trucks of detroit? I've bookmarked it but have yet to make it down: http://tinyurl.com/l59n9v

          Oops, I see this was a really old thread. Perhaps I'm not the last one to have known about the map and it will help someone out.

        2. Recently came across a barbecue food truck with smoker, on the NW corner of 8 Mile and Wyoming in Detroit. Rough neighborhood, wonderful ribs--not the fall-off-the-bone type, but so very smoky and peppery.

          The truck is called Motown Mobile Barbecue & Grill.

          Can call ahead to order -- (248) 247-4493

          1. Just saw this on Facebook. I have yet to see this Pink Flamingo Taco Truck. Anyone want to go skating tonight?

            OMNICORPDETROIT Presents:
            Skate O' Rama!
            Bring yer roller skates (or buy some from your local thrift store) and warm up those bunz in Eastern Market's glorious new heated shed 3!
            featuring most awesome DJs Kevin Sears and Drew Pompa of Blank Artists
            ... and the Pink Flamingo Taco Truck! YUM!

            http://detnews.com/article/20101017/O...

            1 Reply
            1. re: JanPrimus

              Interesting article. I hope Detroit gets on the ball and changes the ordinance.

            2. I've had Jaques Taco's several times. Definitely worth a try if you are in the area. The chicken is my favorite and I almost universally prefer pork.

              He can usually be found in the Royal Oak area or 12 Mile and Haggerty.

              http://www.jacquestacos.com/

              EDIT: Looks like Chef Wes has been talked about here before:

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/738709

              I didn't think the $/food ratio was way out of whack, maybe he has increased the portion size. Now, for the same amount of money including tip, I can go down the street to El Patio and eat gringo tacos while sitting indoors :)

              1 Reply
              1. re: Wooderson

                Ate at Jaques Taco's a few months ago and it was great. This culinary cart is a regular fixture on Woodward north of 13 Mile (north bound side) every Saturday.

              2. Here's a map of the taco trucks in southwest Detroit.

                http://bit.ly/ejLiEI

                1. open three weeks ago, downtown detroit has its first legal food truck (only 60 meetings over 6 months at city hall - and kwame has been in jail all that time....)

                  el guapo grill sets up shop at randolph and monroe, halfway between greektown and campus martius. i walked over for lunch today and was pleased.

                  about 6 poeple in line when i got there and about 12 in line when i left. simple menu. four people working inside the truck and they bang out the orders fairly quickly. took my go-box and walked over to campus martius for a quick lunch in the sun.

                  i ordered an asada burrito and a chorizo taco. they mixed it up. i got an asada taco and a chorizo burrito.

                  taco ($2) - two small corn tortillas, with a little pile of steak, some queso fresco, cilantro, onions, and salsa (guapo) and two wedges of lime. decent. maybe a tad on the dry side. shot of lime helped.

                  burrito ($5.50) - flour tortilla filled with chorizo, rice, black beans, onion, cilantro, and salsa (hot). the burrito is about half the size of a chipotle burrito, sealed tight, and wamed on the griddle. very good chorizo and beans. salsa was not noticbly hot. but over all it was very good.

                  you can also get chicken or vegetable tacos/burritos. you can add toppings if you want - sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes, etc. for $0.25 (taco) or $0.50 (burrito). they have a few sides (rice, beans, chips, guacamole, salsa), pink elephant cupcakes ($2), and faygo.

                  i liked the chorizo better than the asada $7.95 total with tax. very good. i will go back.

                  http://www.elguapogrill.com/

                  http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/...

                  http://www.freep.com/article/20110804...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: xman887

                    This is awesome! I hope it's the first of many! Thanks for the report!

                    1. Anyone try the Concrete Cuisine truck? I've seen it driving around Farmington Hills and Novi, but haven't had a chance to try it.

                      http://concretecuisine.webs.com/

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: jmax

                        Only in pictures. Never actually seen the truck in person.

                        1. re: jmax

                          I have tried; and I have been stymied a couple of times. Their website says to
                          watch their on-line calendar for "locations." Ohh-kay. Their calendar says ...
                          "Farmington Hills" and "West Bloomfield" - not exactly helpful. I want lunch, not
                          a frigg'n scavenger hunt.

                          1. re: rainsux

                            If you click on the location it gives the details - time, exact address - though it'd be a little simpler if they could just put all that right on the calendar.

                            1. re: rainsux

                              They update FB daily with specials and locations. I "liked" them long ago and receive a lot of updates etc. If you aren't on FB..not sure about updates, maybe Twitter?