Discover Austin: Tacodeli - Episode 116

Tacos are a way of life in Austin.  We’re going to look at a long-time local favorite, Tacodeli, on this episode of Discover Austin.

Tacodeli is among a handful of restaurants in Austin that have had long-term success with multiple locations across town.  Roberto Espinosa opened the first Tacodeli in 1999.  Roberto grew up in Mexico City where he first fell in love with the taqueria.  He wanted to offer the authentic flavor of Mexico City, but still have the flexibility to get a little creative.  Roberto loves to dispel the misconception that Mexican food is unhealthy and Tacodeli’s menu is a testament to that.

From the beginning, Tacodeli has insisted on locally sourcing its ingredients. While that’s more common today, it was pretty unique back in 1999.  They make everything in house, from scratch so they know exactly what’s in their food.  By choosing the right, high-quality ingredients, they simply don’t need to add less desirable items in an attempt to make the food taste better.  All tacos are gluten free when ordered on corn tortillas.  There are also dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan options on the menu. 

One of Tacodeli’s signature items is the Dona Salsa.  In the early days, Roberto asked his team to create a salsa so he could get a sense of their abilities in the kitchen.  Doña Bertha Gonzales blew away the competition with her creamy jalapeno salsa.  It became a hit with customers, remains one of the most popular salsas, and proudly bears her name.

For many years, Tacodeli focused on being where customers worked and along commute routes.  They focused on breakfast and lunch as each store closed at 3:00pm.  But that has changed.  This is the Circle C location which was the first to be located near where people live.  It opened in 2022 with longer hours as dinner is available.  In fact, most of their restaurants are now open for dinner.  In addition, they have craft cocktails and other alcohol.

Many people first discover Tacodeli by eating their breakfast tacos, but not in their restaurants.  Since the early days, Tacodeli has sold breakfast tacos to coffee shops making them available to a wider audience.  In fact, there are over 100 coffee shops and other specialty locations that sell Tacodeli breakfast tacos.  Tacodeli currently has 12 locations.  7 are in Austin, four in the Dallas area, and one in Houston.  Expansion is ongoing, but intentionally not at a fast pace. 

Tacodeli has earned its spot as a staple on the Austin taco scene.  So next time you’ve got a craving, be sure to stop by Tacodeli.

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