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Terrapin Taco House

boardwlk17 May 29, 2009 03:20 PM

This was the best mexican food in maryland. i know there are alot of fans out there. i have been searching for years for mexican food to even come close to Terrapin Taco House. I know the owner has posted on this site. david we need a great taco house in this area. i would drive from new carrollton to collage park. all the time. the best mexican food..... there's a nice store front at the four seasons shearaton this is a NO BRAINER i myself know 100's of people that would eat there all the time and i'm only 1 person . come on everybody post your thoughts I myself have been searching for years for MEXICAN FOOD as good as Terrapin Taco House THANK YOU

  1. t
    The Big Crunch Jul 10, 2013 07:06 AM

    Are you kidding me? It always tasted like cheap junk to me.

    1 Reply
    1. re: The Big Crunch
      monkeyrotica Jul 10, 2013 09:32 AM

      I remember Tippy's Tacos circa 1986-8. It was pretty indistinguishable from Taco Bell, but that was when Taco Bell actually didn't taste half bad. Then they changed to Terrapin Taco and it was pretty much the same stuff. 

      There's a Tippy's Tacos near Huntington Metro. It's amazingly vile: grey unseasoned ground beef, guac from a tub, preshredded cheddar, Old El Paso shells. It's like they took condemned and expired Taco Bell stuff out of their dumpster and slapped a new wrapper on it. I like a cheap Americanized taco as much as the next jerk who grew up on this slop in the '70s, but wow. A new low.

    2. k
      kptocs Jun 13, 2013 07:29 PM

      I worked here. maybe 1988. Doris, Grady, Phil (passed) a couple of others I recall faces. When I interviewed for the job with Doris and she said I got the job, I reminded her how the ad in the paper said "free meals" so I asked for a burrito at the end of the interview. hahahahahaha

      1. d
        Dr. B Jul 17, 2010 09:05 AM

        Terrapin Taco was great. I worked there until Dorris kicked me out. I knew everyone. I drove up from Norfolk to be with Dave the last knight of the taco house in CP and went down to Willmington NC to be with Jeff when the Cantina Closed. END OF AN ERA.

        Best tacos and food anywhere. I have never found better at any price.

        1. t
          tacokid Jul 16, 2010 09:41 PM

          Thanks for your love of our food. I am Dave who owned the Taco House from 1989 until
          our unfortunate closure in 2004. I am about to go on vacation, send your e-mail address
          to dallen8704@aol.com and I will give you the receipe for queso and hot sauce.

          Taco House
          515 23rd St S, Arlington, VA 22202

          1 Reply
          1. re: tacokid
            Clootie Jul 17, 2010 01:39 AM

            Hi, Dave! I miss the bean-and-guacamole tacos most of all, but I'd love your queso recipe. I miss you and your wonderful food. Have a great vacation!

          2. h
            hon Jan 5, 2010 07:46 AM


            1. Joe H Jan 4, 2010 03:25 PM

              Terrapin Taco House is Tippy's. Are you serious?

              9 Replies
              1. re: Joe H
                theoneontheleft Jan 5, 2010 01:45 PM

                The one time I ate at Terrapin Taco house, not long before it closed, it tasted to me like the Tippy's in Arlington.

                1. re: theoneontheleft
                  Joe H Jan 6, 2010 07:14 AM

                  The Terrapin Taco House was Tippy's. Literally. It opened as Tippy's and continued as the Terrapin Taco House just as Toucan Taco opened as Tippy's. In fact there were hundreds of Tippy's around the U. S. with the first opening in the D. C. area on Flower avenue one block off of Piney Branch in the early 1960's. Today, there are at least four places in Northern VA which serve Tippy's original food and probably as many or more in Maryland.

                  There are some who believe that Tippy's/Terrapin/Toucan had/have a "taste" that is addictive. Whether or not this is good is another matter. The first taco I ever had was at the Tippy's on Flower Avenue (next to a High's) perhaps 45 years ago. At the time I thought it was incredible.

                  I didn't know any better.

                  1. re: Joe H
                    flavrmeistr Jan 6, 2010 08:11 AM

                    Me, either. There was a Tippy's on Hillwood Avenue in Falls Church for years. It was formerly Taco Tico, but the food stayed the same. I loved the red gravy they put that came with the enchiladas. You can actually buy it at Safeway as a house brand.

                    1. re: flavrmeistr
                      Dennis S Jan 6, 2010 09:38 AM

                      Hold the presses - guilty pleasure alert for me - but you're saying that the Tippy's on Hillwood in FC is really a Taco Tico? The two are similarish (though it's been years for either for me) but I was just longing for Taco Tico.

                      1. re: Dennis S
                        theoneontheleft Jan 6, 2010 02:07 PM

                        I think that's Taco Laredo on Hillwood, not Tippy's.

                        1. re: theoneontheleft
                          pizzablogger Jan 6, 2010 03:50 PM

                          Yep, Terapin was Tippy's. I grew up in College Park and it was Tippy's all through my childhood back when the Starlight Go-Go was also nearby on Route 1 and Tippy's parking lot was often filled with bikers and some nice Harley Davidson's. Our family "go-to" places back then were Ledo in Adelphi, Harley's in Laurel for subs and Tippy's and the Alamo in Riverdale for Mexican.

                          In retrospect, having authentic, fresh Mexican tacos in Baltimore that are killer, I'm not even sure Tippy's was great like I thought it was when I was a kid, but what does it matter? I loved it back then. Getting a Monterrey Dinner or Sunken Burrito and squeezing in a game at Monte Golf afterwards was just about right!

                          Damn, now I want some Tippy's!

                        2. re: Dennis S
                          flavrmeistr Jan 7, 2010 04:09 AM

                          It started out in the 60's as Taco Tico, then became Tippy's, then Taco Laredo some time after that. The food never seemed to change that much. I don't know what it's like now, though.

                          1. re: flavrmeistr
                            SoxFan1 Jan 7, 2010 05:00 AM

                            I attended Whittier Intermediate (now razed) right across the street on Hillwood Ave. from what is now (still?--I have not been by there in a couple of years) Taco Laredo. I am nearly positive that it was never a Tippys. It was a Taco Tico in the late 60s and early 70s, and there was a name change at some point (but not to Tippy's, something like Taco Amigo), then to Taco Laredo. Up through about 5 years ago (the last time I ate there), the food (beef tacos, burritos) had not seemed to change much from when I went there as a young teen. To me, it is definitely different from the taste of Tippy's, for better or for worse. The place did have some kind of odor lingering (like a mustiness), so I made my order "to go". Taco Laredo also had a place at Springfield Mall for a number of years, don't know if it or a successor is still there.

                            EDIT: I am now thinking that the intermediate name was "Taco Bueno", but with no relation to what I now see on the net as the franchise with that same name. Maybe the further change to Taco Laredo was as a result of trademark infringement issues.

                            1. re: SoxFan1
                              flavrmeistr Jan 7, 2010 05:40 AM

                              Taco Bueno sounds about right, now that you mention it. The place was always kind of funky-smelling, but it was cheap. In the late 60's- early 70's you could get like 5 or 6 tacos for a buck. It didn't matter that the meat was sort of like warmed-up dog food.. The cheese and hot sauce took care of that. In the mid to late 70's we ate a lot of their tacos next door at the Catholic War Vets, washed down with 40-cent draft beers. I thought for a short time it might've been a Tippy's, but I could be wrong. There was a Tippy's up on Lee Hwy. near Cedar Lane. It's all a bit of a blur at this point.

                2. j
                  Jason1 Jan 4, 2010 10:51 AM

                  Have you tried Toucan Taco in Laurel?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Jason1
                    skipper Jan 5, 2010 07:34 AM

                    Toucan Taco used to be a Tippy's just as the Terrapin Taco House was a Tippy's. According to the owners and operators of Toucan, they still use the Tippy's recipes. As my wife and I have been there twice, I can say that it is reminescent of Tippy's if not exactly a duplicate. What I have eaten there as I used to at Tippy's was the burrito and I would swear it was the same.

                  2. Dennis S Jan 4, 2010 06:22 AM

                    May help: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/565684

                    1. d
                      Davewantssauce Jan 3, 2010 08:02 PM

                      I really miss the place in College Park too. Does anyone know the sauce recipe for the sauce they put on the tables? I can't duplicate it! I even worked there one time and I never saw how it was made. Tomatoes and crushed red peppers is all I can remember. Thanks!

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