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Paco's Tacos in Harvard Square

kvmax2 Jun 9, 2011 04:23 AM

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. k
    KazamaSmokers RE: kvmax2 Jun 12, 2011 08:12 PM

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

    1. galangatron RE: kvmax2 Jun 12, 2011 09:16 PM

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

      1. h
        hargau RE: kvmax2 Jun 13, 2011 05:35 AM

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

        1. steinpilz RE: kvmax2 Jun 13, 2011 07:22 AM

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

          1. g
            gourmaniac RE: kvmax2 Jun 13, 2011 08:57 AM

            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
              Allstonian RE: gourmaniac Jun 13, 2011 09:00 AM

              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
                chickendhansak RE: Allstonian Jun 13, 2011 09:08 AM

                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
                  Allstonian RE: chickendhansak Jun 13, 2011 09:22 AM

                  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
                    chickendhansak RE: Allstonian Jun 13, 2011 09:24 AM

                    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
                      andieb RE: chickendhansak Jun 13, 2011 09:28 AM

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

                      1. re: chickendhansak
                        gourmaniac RE: chickendhansak Jun 13, 2011 09:31 AM

                        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
                          yumyum RE: gourmaniac Jun 13, 2011 10:17 AM

                          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
                            gourmaniac RE: yumyum Jun 13, 2011 10:31 AM

                            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
                              Allstonian RE: gourmaniac Jun 13, 2011 10:41 AM

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

                        2. re: chickendhansak
                          Allstonian RE: chickendhansak Jun 13, 2011 09:34 AM

                          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
                            chickendhansak RE: Allstonian Jun 13, 2011 09:41 AM

                            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
                              FoodDabbler RE: Allstonian Jun 14, 2011 11:19 AM

                              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
                        soylent_greens RE: Allstonian Jun 5, 2013 03:29 PM

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

                      3. re: gourmaniac
                        GooGooGourmet RE: gourmaniac Jun 13, 2011 06:09 PM

                        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
                          gourmaniac RE: GooGooGourmet Jun 14, 2011 08:34 AM

                          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
                            KazamaSmokers RE: gourmaniac Jun 14, 2011 10:24 AM

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

                      4. w
                        Wynndi RE: kvmax2 Jun 4, 2013 07:45 PM

                        I remember! First beer I was ever served was there in '82 when I was 16. Killer tacos in the days before Mexican fast food.

                        Fred Locke Stereo was across the street, Pinocchio Pizza around the corner, the Garage still had "head" shops. The Tasty was down the road beneath the Wurst haus!

                        Good times!

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