My family, having come to the U.S. from Michoacán, México, has struggled for years to find local food that reminds us of our country. So much so, that I can still hear my mother saying “if you want real Mexican food, just go home.” She was not lying, I could go home and be guaranteed good food but I figured, “what is the harm in looking around?” I was surprised to see all the options available in the Lafayette-West Lafayette area. It is a real pleasure to share the results of my search with you. This short list consists of Taco Rico, La Plaza, and Taco Express.
Having lived most of my life in Lafayette, Taco Rico is one of those restaurants I remember since I was a little kid. It is the only authentic Mexican restaurant that made my list that actually has a large seating area. From the moment you walk in, you hear the meat sizzling on the grill, you smell the spice of hot peppers in the air, and you feel enveloped by the Mexican culture. This is when you know you’re in for some good food. Taco Rico has a variety of tacos to choose from and you will not be disappointed by any decision you make. This is truly a great space to have REAL tacos.
Taco Rico is located at 1325 Sagamore Pkwy N, Lafayette, IN, which is in the Eastway Plaza and is open from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
One might overlook this location as it appears to be just a typical Mexican grocery store. However, taco advertisements are prominent on the front door. La Plaza is strictly carry-out only. What distinguishes this family run business is its affordability. It offers its customers not one, but two, dollar taco days; every other day of the week the cost is $1.49. Because of the huge crowds that show up on Tuesdays and Fridays, it is recommended to call in advance and pick up at your convenience.
La Plaza is located at 2108 Veterans Memorial Pkwy S Ste D, Lafayette, IN and is open from 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Taco Express is what I would consider a true hole in the wall. This Mexican restaurant brings a little piece of Veracruz to the south side of Lafayette, and having owner Miriam Barrera personally take each order makes it that much more authentic. Tacos here are made Mexican-style only, meaning no hard shells, cheese, lettuce, or sour cream in sight. The empanadas and gorditas are made by hand, and the salsas have a flavor that hurts-so-good. Taco Express makes all Mexican people feel a sense of nostalgia.
Because her current location is too small to seat more than three or four people, most of her clients take food to-go. However, while preparing our meals, Barrera mentioned to us that her business will be completing an expansion in early 2020.
Taco Express is located at 3401 Fairfield Ct, Lafayette, IN and is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Next time you are looking to get some truly authentic Mexican cuisine, make sure to treat yourself to one of these restaurants. You are more likely to become a loyal customer than to ever leave disappointed. For more information about these restaurants and other incredible businesses in Lafayette-West Lafayette, visit HomeOfPurdue.com.
This blog was shared by Purdue University Student, Brenda Barrera.