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Jun 9, 2011 04:23 AM

Paco's Tacos in Harvard Square

Does anyone remember Paco's Tacos that was in Harvard Square? I lived out of state for a while and when I came back they were gone.

Their tortillas were different and I haven't been able to find a restaurant that makes them the same. Does anyone know the recipe?

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  1. I loved Paco's. Don't know anything about their recipes though.

    1. i don't remember paco's tacos but i remember casa mexico

      1. I used to love Pacos Tacos. I believe there was also one in quincy market way in the back

        1. I definitely remember Paco's Taco's but I've tried hard and can't remember where it was.

          1. I thinbk that Paco's Tacos was a stand in the Garage and not long lived. Casa Mexico was a more serious restaurant on Boylston/JFK) across from Pinnochios and longer lived. I think it was where Tamarind is now. I recall that it had a decent mole.

            16 Replies
            1. re: gourmaniac

              Yes, Casa Mexico was in the basement space that is now Tamarind, and was there for a pretty long time.

              IIRC, Paco's Tacos may have been in the space in the Garage that is now Felipe's. or possibly in the ground-floor space next to Le's/Pho Pasteur.

              1. re: Allstonian

                I remember in the 90s there was a place in the Garage next to Le's/Pho Pasteur as you say. I can't remember the name. I was a vegetarian at the time and enjoyed their burritos with pasty black beans inside. Could this have been Paco's Tacos? I don't think those burritos would have won any prizes but I was more blissfully ignorant then even than I am now and would often stop for one after a trip to Newbury Comics.

                I was also in love with the baked ziti at the large Italian-style place that was in the space that is now Starbucks, IIRC.

                1. re: chickendhansak

                  I think the Italian-style place was probably in the space that's now Chutney's - before the Starbucks was a Starbucks it was the Coffee Connection, and then changed directly into a Starbucks when they bought out the local chain. I know this for sure, because I worked at that CC in the mid-1980s.

                  1. re: Allstonian

                    Do you recall the Italian-style place I mean? It was a sort of yuppified deli, and I recall it being quite open plan and spacious -- so much so that it definitely occupied more space than Chutney's. Maybe the Felipe's space was somehow involved? It seems unlikely to me now because IIRC Chutney's and Felipe's are divided by an exit. It was definitely in that corner of the ground floor of the Garage, is the best I can say.

                    1. re: chickendhansak

                      I think that was formaggio. And their baked ziti was the best!

                      1. re: chickendhansak

                        Formaggio's (before the Huron Street location) was a sandwich place in the garage and occupied a large footprint. There was an italian place on the second floor and I only recall getting two slices for 1.35. Pasta was out of reach for my wallet then. yes I know I'm old. Shove off, granddad.

                        1. re: gourmaniac

                          Formaggio's was a great place to get a sandwich to sneak into the movies when playing hookie from classes. I liked the roast beef and boursin too...

                          Shove off granddad! heh.

                          1. re: yumyum

                            It was the first place I tasted boursin and thought it so sophisticated. While we're on Nostalgia Row, the names Mug and Muffin and One Potato Two Potato come to mind as places that should stay on that memorable street.

                            1. re: gourmaniac

                              And Bailey's. And Zum Zum. And the Tasty, Elsie's, Cardell's/Buddy's Steak Pit...I'm old too.

                        2. re: chickendhansak

                          I remember Formaggio's, a sandwich place that I'm fairly certain was not related to the present-day shops on Huron Ave. and the South End. Way back when that was the first place I recall that offered a roast-beef-and-boursin sandwich.

                          Can't recall if the deli-type place with hot foods that you're remembering was a later incarnation of the same, or a different business - there's been a bit of turnover in that space. I agree that the space seemed bigger in those days - it went all the way back to the outside wall, the same distance that the Starbucks goes now. Perhaps there's closed-off work/storage space behind Chutney's.

                          1. re: Allstonian

                            You are all correct that it was called Formaggio's. I remember the sandwiches and perhaps "yuppified deli" painted the wrong image.

                            Still wondering what the small Mexican place across the way was called and whether it was Paco's Tacos.

                            1. re: Allstonian

                              My understanding of the Formaggio history is that the Harvard Square location and the Huron one were once owned by the same woman (?). Ihsan Gurdal bought the Huron location around 1990 and developed it into the powerhouse that it is today. I may have the very early history wrong, but I'm pretty sure there was no connection between the Harvard Square store and the Huron Ave one after 1990 or so. The South End FK branch of the Huron Village store is more recent.

                              (Trivia: There was a summer or so in the mid-1990s when FK had a seasonal store on Nantucket.)

                      2. re: Allstonian

                        Felipe's space was Real Taco previously (and horrid).

                      3. re: gourmaniac

                        In the late 70's to early 80's, there was a place called Paco's Taco's at #50 J.F.K. street, in the space currently occupied by the 9 Tastes Thai restaurant. You ordered at a counter at the bottom of the stairs and there was dining space in the second room, down three steps. I remember it fondly, but I was a culinary neophyte at the time and have no way of knowing if it was any good by Taqueria Mexico standards.

                        Taqueria Mexico
                        24 Charles St, Waltham, MA 02453

                        1. re: GooGooGourmet

                          Good memory. The timing is right and your description is clearing fog that is my cortex. I don't think it was very good but we had little to compare it to then. I recall around that time taking my first trip to San Francisco and marveling at the quality and value of the Mission Street tacquerias. They were (and still are) a revelation that we still can;t match here though Boston is much much better now for all things tacoish.

                          1. re: gourmaniac

                            I would stack Turtles Tacos in Putnam up against the best California tacquerias.