If you want to start a heated food fight, tell a group of people where to find the best tacos in town. Friends become enemies.
For reasons unknown, tacos and burritos seem to be America’s most divisive foods and everyone has his or her own favorite spot. With that in mind, what better way to decide who is king than a taco crawl through the streets of Grand Rapids?
There are more taquerias in the city than there are varieties of hot sauce in the aisles of any supermercado on Division – it’s a beautiful thing.
So keep in mind that my choices may not be your choices. You can add some of your favorites to the tour, but don’t subtract. Hit every spot down Division. Zigzag from the West Side to Uptown. Include old favorites, or zap your taste buds with something new. Just like a taco, make it your own.
In the meantime, here’s a quick route for those in doubt.
Tacos El Veracruz
2151 Division Ave., Grand Rapids
Don’t turn around! Yes, the sign says “Laundromat,” but deep inside are some serious tacos. Fear not — head down past the whirring machines for a selection of tacos, quesadillas, tamales and pupusas. And there’s coffee for 25 cents. If you can best that, your tacos are on me.
Taco of choice: Pork cabeza.
636 Bridge St., Grand Rapids
Maggie’s is an OG player in the ever-growing stable of West Side spots in GR. They’ve been killing it sun-up to sun-down since 1983, which means you could start your crawl here in the morning with some breakfast tacos. A full menu of burritos, tortas, tostadas and classic Styrofoam-plate specials offers an extensive selection to mix and match. Whatever you choose, I dare you to put that Yucateca XXXtra Chile Habanero sauce on there.
Taco of choice: Skirt steak with onions, cilantro — add avocado.
64 Ionia Ave., Grand Rapids
Here we are: The home stretch. Luna is the beginning of the more luxurious part of the journey: Dim lighting, nightlife vine and some exceptional tacos. Make it to Luna between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. and you’ll find yourself in the midst of happy hour with deals on both drinks and food. Luna also boasts a full, alluring menu that my wandering eyes found extremely tempting, but my taco-filled belly could not stomach. Maybe next time.
Taco of choice: Wild caught corvina, slaw and salsa diabla. Spicy.
665 Wealthy St., Grand Rapids
Don’t fret — the crawl’s not over yet. And you’ve got so much top-shelf tequila to try, your night is really just getting started. Make sure to keep yourself hydrated and eat two tacos between each glass of Blue Nectar (thanks Audrey — and sorry about that glass!). When I made my visit, there was much hand wringing and deliberation over which Donkey taco would be dubbed “King.” Never could our party come to an agreement. Be like us: Sample them all just to be sure.
Taco of choice: TIE between roasted pork shoulder, grilled pineapple, onions and cilantro; pork confit, lime-marinated cabbage, carrot, queso fresco and cilantro
Do you have a favorite spot for Mexican food? Nominate/vote for it in Revue's Best of the West Readers Poll! revuewm.com/bestofthewest