Bottomfeeder: Taqueria Tequila Is (Cuervo) Gold

The unlikely stamina of a cheap taco-peddler.

If there was one commercial constant at the intersection of Northwest 85th Street and Third Avenue Northwest during the late 20th century, it was that hardly anything was ever constant. On the southwest corner sat a massive, windowless all-ages club which seemed to change identity and ownership every year or two. It was called, among other things, Checkers, Club Odyssey, and the Up & Down Club, and was the sort of place where thin-'stached community-college dropouts in turtlenecks and gold necklaces picked up chain-smoking high-school chicks. You felt exponentially tackier just for walking through the door. Across the street was an old Hoagie's Corner, its exterior unchanged from its original incarnation as an efficiency deli. Inside, however, the space went through countless permutations. At one point or another, one of the storefronts was called Turkey Crossing, which sounded like a horrible idea and was. Its successor, Taqueria Tequila, also seemed like it wouldn't be long for this world. Yet nearly a decade later, it endures as one of the unlikeliest culinary success stories in town. Taqueria Tequila is up there with Las Margaritas or Burrito Loco as the sort of name that blatantly signals "quick, cheap, Americanized Mexican food where refried beans are slathered on virtually everything, like a condiment." And it is, indeed, quick and (extremely) cheap. But its fare—in particular, the pork tacos—is far closer to what you'll find at a taco truck than, say, Azteca's. Like South Park's Juan Colorado, however, Taqueria Tequila isn't so auténtico that it fails to recognize the inherent goodness of an enormous chorizo burrito, chockablock with rice, whole beans, and an appropriate (but not overpowering) amount of sour cream and guacamole. Half of Taqueria Tequila's space is dedicated to a full bar, and naturally it's got tequila and a slew of Mexican beers. But ultimately, value takes the day, as only the snootiest of brew aficionados will be able to resist backing a shot with a $1 Bud Light.

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