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The Inexplicable Popularity of Tito’s Tacos

Mmm food in a box.
Mmm food in a box.

When I first moved to LA, local Los Angelinos were really jealous when they discovered my proximity to Tito’s Tacos in Culver City. Every time I drove by, there was a huge line that really kept me away. I figured I didn’t need to wait in a long line when Cinco de Mayo was right next door.

Eventually I decided to to brave the long line and see what they really had to offer. The first thing I noticed was their wall menu, which looked straight from from the ’70s. The prices also looked like they hadn’t been updated since the ’70s, with tacos under $2 and burritos hovering between $3 and $4. There was a catch, though, cheese wasn’t included. Anyone hoping for cheese had to drop an extra 50 cents. To me, this was tantamount to charging extra for cheese on a pizza. Look, I know that cheese might not typically be found on a taco in Mexico, but in America we expect cheese on our Mexican food. Needless to say, I was quite disappointed to fork over an extra dollar for cheese on my beef and bean burrito and my taco without lettuce. Maybe this was part of why people loved Tito’s so much?

Not too long after, my box of food was ready. In it, they had stuffed about as many chips as they could, with a little container of salsa. At least they hadn’t skimped on that.

I tried out Tito’s signature taco first, and found it to be pretty ok. I liked that the shell managed to stay together really well as I ate through it, but otherwise I felt nothing special. There wasn’t a whole lot of meat to it and I kept thinking about the extra price of the cheese. My burrito was definitely an improvement upon the taco, although I did pay a bit more money for the improvement. The meat, beans and cheese had all seemingly fused together and I could hardly tell the difference between any of them. It was so loaded, in fact, that I had to use some of the chips to scoop out the insides. The chips were nothing to write home about, but made a decent companion to my meal.

In the end, I was mildly satisfied. If it weren’t for the hype, I may have enjoyed the experience a lot more. Instead, I felt that I had eaten at a subpar Mexican place that was inexplicably popular with the locals.