Rejoice! Today Is National Taco Day

by | Oct 4, 2018 | EAT DRINK

Growing up in New Mexico made me a taco connoisseur, so National Taco Day is almost like a religious holiday for me. But where do these tantalizing treats come from? According to anthropological evidence, the original tacos date back to before the Spanish had arrived in Mexico, and were introduced to the conquistadors by indigenous tribes in the Valley of Mexico. 

As for the name, taco historian Jeffrey M. Pilcher tells The Smithsonian Magazine that the Spanish word “taco” goes back to 18th century Mexico. Silver miners used to refer to explosive charges as tacos. “These were pieces of paper that they would wrap around gunpowder and insert into the holes they carved in the rock face.”

Put some hot sauce on your chicken, wrap it in corn, and bam! You’ve got some dynamite for your mouth.

Tacos originally acted as a way for Mexican citizens to separate themselves from the colonizing Spanish, who primarily used wheat not corn tortillas. In the early 20th century, however, Mexican immigrants started to introduce tacos to the southwest. Thus New Mexico and Colorado have given America two if it’s favorite things: tacos and legal weed.

The original taquerias were found in working class neighborhoods. With industrialization bringing people together from disparate parts of the country they were a meeting point to sample the countries different flavors — and chiles.  

Today, when we think about delicious Mexican food, tacos always take center stage. They remain a mainstay of Mexican street cuisine. For decades, tacos have also given many brilliant young chefs a start in the culinary arts, allowing them to own their own business in the form of taco bars and taco trucks. These trucks are a great introduction to the deliciousness of tacos — they were for me when I drunkenly walked out onto Labrea Avenue when I lived in LA. Know what was there waiting for me? A taco truck and its delicious tacos.

In a time period where President Trump wants to build a wall separating the U.S. from Mexico, it’s food that bridges the cultural gap and brings us together. And while National Taco Day might seem like a silly holiday, it also recognizes the origins of a culture which has influenced and changed the U.S. for the better.

So at this stage you’re probably wondering where to get your hands on some delicious tacos. Have no fear — we at RVA Mag have got you covered.

Delicious taco platter from En Su Boca/via Facebook

Free and cheap taco deals for National Taco Day:

Chuy’s (W. Broad St, Short Pump): Get a taco for a dollar with the purchase of any entree.

Taco Bell (all over town): Get a “National Taco Day Gift Set, featuring a crunchy taco, and one each of the three Doritos Locos Tacos flavors (Nacho Cheese, Cool Ranch, and Fiery), all for $5.

Tijuana Flats (Willow Lawn): Two tacos with chips and drink for $5.99. (This one isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s apparently better than the normal price.

Cold Stone Creamery (W. Broad St near VCU and several other spots around town): For one day only, Cold Stone is selling waffle tacos with ice cream — get the shell dipped in chocolate if you really want to do it up.

On The Border (Woodbridge): Sure, their nearest location is an hour and a half north of Richmond, but On The Border is offering all-you-can-eat tacos for $8.99 today, and that might just be worth a drive.

Other delicious tacos around Richmond that are worth your while:

La Milpa (Hull Street Rd): Where Richmond tacos are concerned, La Milpa is the best-kept secret in town. But between its delicious tacos, its affordable prices (three beef or chicken tacos will run you $6), and the unbelievable fact that it’s open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, it won’t stay quiet for long.

En Su Boca (N. Boulevard, Scott’s Addition): They offer tacos in nearly a dozen different styles, from super-traditional (slow roasted citrus pork shoulder) to delicious new-school twists (the Sloppy Joe tacos with jack cheese). All of them are delicious, and four of them will cost you $11. Can’t beat that.

Bandito’s (Patterson Ave in the Museum District): From 3 PM til 7 PM on weekdays, Bandito’s has dollar tacos. Need I say more?

Tio Pablo (E. Franklin St, Shockoe Bottom): Their 100 percent gluten-free menu and wide-ranging choices for taco fillings (beef tongue, cactus, fried mahi) make this the go-to taco spot for Shockoe Bottom.

Jalapenos Mexican Grill (Carytown): This new spot down the block from Sweet Frog has people talking, and is stepping in to fill the void left by Don’t Look Back’s move to Scott’s Addition. Speaking of which…

Don’t Look Back: Triple (W. Broad St, Scott’s Addition): After losing their Carytown location to a fire, this well-beloved taco spot has returned with a vengeance — and they still serve their excellent tacos until 1 AM, so it’s the perfect late-night stop.

Image by Lindsay Eastham. Additional reporting on taco specials by Marilyn Drew Necci

Jack Clark

Jack Clark




more in eat drink

Our Richmond Barfly’s Happy Hour List 2024 

Picking a spot for happy hour in downtown Richmond can be a pain. But don't worry, we've got you covered. If we've missed your favorite haunt, need to update the information or you want your business included, just reach out. We’ll be adding to this list as we go...

RVA 5×5 | Substantial Doubt of Competency, More Meals Tax Issues

While the Mayor and friends were busy celebrating the AAA bond rating upgrade atop City Hall, inside the lower levels the city continues to fall apart. Most notably, the meals tax fiasco that we were told was being handled and improved is showing more and different...

Wave That Flag! Richmond’s Pride 2024 Events Are Here to Slay

We are a little late on this but Virginia Pride has unveiled the schedule for its annual "Endless Summer of Pride" campaign, a celebration of the Richmond region's LGBTQ community. The campaign kicked off on May 31 with a pride flag-raising ceremony at City Hall,...

Time For A Richmond Pizza Date!

Over the last decade Richmond has become a proper pizza town. Local pizzerias dish up a variety of styles at every price range. Pizza is the food of the people so naturally it makes a great date. You can learn a lot about a person across a slice. Are they a folder?...

RVA 5×5 | Legend Brewing Co. is Looking to Sell

This Business of the Week story is somewhat bittersweet as Mike Platania at Richmond BizSense reported that Legend Brewing Co. is looking to sell its property and maybe their assets and formula as well. Last month they put their 1.3-acre property on 7th Street in...

Cicadas on the Menu in Richmond!

In late April or in early May, trillions of cicadas will emerge in various U.S. states. These periodical cicadas, from Brood XIX and Brood XIII, surface after 13 and 17 years, respectively, and will appear in unprecedented numbers. Virginia will experience this mostly...

Congrats 821 Cafe! A Favorite Richmond Hang Out Turns Twenty

821 Cafe, the unassuming diner/restaurant/bar on the corner of Cherry and Cary streets - where Oregon Hill and the Fan meet - turns 20 years old in its current incarnation. Andrew Clarke and Chip Cooke bought the place from its previous owners back in 2004, and have...

JewFro restaurant was robbed. Help them bounce back.

We were made aware of this post from the restaurant and wanted to lend our support. If you have any details that could assist, please step forward and notify the authorities. Additionally, there's a GoFundMe campaign established to aid their recovery, which you can...