Taco Taco Fast Fresh Mex…where fresh is key

Anytime there is a lot of buzz about a new business, especially a restaurant, I get curious. I’m always wondering if the buzz is being created because it is brand new? Or is the food really that good?

Any new restaurant, especially in a fairly small community like Poplar Bluff, is going to get heavy traffic at first. The question is, once people have tried it out, will they keep coming back?

So I had to try out Taco Taco Fast Fresh Mex, a new restaurant opened close to the intersection of Highway 53 and Highway 142.

One of the first things to intrigue me was the location. There aren’t a whole lot of restaurant choices on that side of the town. Was this a smart move?

I decided yes….it was a smart move.

I paid close attention to the clientele coming in to eat. Taco Taco gives the many people who work on that side of town literally a fresh food choice over typical fast food. I saw a good mix of people in business clothing, and some high school and college age kids that came in. I even had an out-of-town visitor ask me for directions about how to get to Sikeston. That means the buzz is reaching outside of Poplar Bluff. Diversity in clientele is a good thing in the restaurant business.

Parking may become a challenge at this location, because there is not a huge over- abundance of parking available. But I always consider growing problems like that to be good problems to have.

Of course this restaurant is a new project for Francisco Esquivel, who has more than proven his competence in the restaurant business. So he’s not likely to make any rookie mistakes.

How is this restaurant different from his other local, more traditional Mexican restaurants?

I’d say it offers a fresh perspective on the Mexican food restaurant business. Even the décor is fresh. It’s clean and bright looking, modern design and totally free of Mexican restaurant “kitsch”. I like this because I think it is even a statement on the evolution of the Mexican restaurant industry. Great Mexican food doesn’t need colorful décor and sombreros to sell.

But, as with all restaurants, its chances of success are all about the food.

So how was the food?

First, I liked the fact that I could actually watch them make my order. I’m not one to go for super spicy food. So I liked the fact that every ingredient of my burrito was up to me, with lots of choices available.

I can’t say this food is fast food chain restaurant cheap, but it is still a great price for the amount and quality of food you are getting. My burrito was so big that I could only eat about half of it while there. I took the rest home.

And when I asked for a to-go container, I was asked how I liked it. That is important, to always communicate with your customers. It’s important to know what they like, and what they don’t like, so that you can continue improving your product. And every person working back behind that counter seemed to be happy. That is another important sign of health in a restaurant. Happy staff means happy customers.

So will I go back?

Definitely, and I will be recommending it to my friends!

Score another one for Francisco!

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Tammy Hilderbrand has a bachelor's degree in Communications from SEMO University, and a master's degree in education. She wrote for Cape Girardeau's Southeast Missourian Newspaper for over five years, taught in the Cape Girardeau Public School System for 16 years, and now owns her own design and custom jewelry company. Tammy lives in Ripley County and looks forward to new opportunities for our entire region to grow.