The other day I was able to visit and experience St. Matthew’s newest taco sensation, Taco Choza. Taco Choza is a small Mexican restaurant that is making big waves amongst the taco aficionados in Louisville. It’s known for its amazing tacos and excellent dining experience. As a self-proclaimed taco aficionado, of course, I had to check it out.
When I first arrived, I was greeted by one of the owners, Jose Cordoba. He was working the register and was able to assist me in choosing which tacos he thought I would like best. He recommended the street tacos, Baja fish tacos, vaca frita tacos, and veggie tacos to try a little bit of everything. Jose was helpful and walked me through the menu and different choices. He was able to answer any questions that I had about the flavors and varied options. I was a little surprised by the price of their tacos, seeing how they are $3.99 each, but Jose explained that their tacos are the size of two average tacos. Once I ordered the tacos that he suggested, he said that I couldn’t skip out on their margaritas or the guacamole. I figured I’m already eating four tacos; At this point, go big or go home.
While waiting for Juan to work his magic and prepare the tacos, I started discussing the idea and concept of Taco Choza with Jose. Jose explained to me that he met Juan while Jose was assisting his wife in her own business. Jose and Juan hit it off immediately, and Juan invited Jose to the restaurant that he worked at that which was under different ownership. Jose decided to visit Juan, and once he did, he saw an opportunity. Jose pitched the idea of becoming a partner of the restaurant with the previous owner and having Juan work as the chef. Once they accepted Jose’s pitch, they decided to do a rebranding of the business.
He said that one of the essential parts of rebranding the restaurant was coming up with a name. I am bilingual and speak Spanish fluently, so I knew the meaning of the name is Taco Shack, but I asked Jose where they got the name. Jose said that surprisingly, it was the owner of the building who suggested it. The owner pointed out that when you look at the building from the outside, it looks like a shack. Jose and Juan realized that the owner was correct, and they loved the idea, and that’s how Taco Choza was born.
While Jose and I continued discussing the concept and establishing the restaurant, the next thing I knew, my tacos and guac were sitting in front of me. First of all, these tacos are massive. Massive in the sense that they are filled to the brim with toppings. I was expecting just a simple taco with a sprinkle of toppings, but I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of food in front of me. Jose wasn’t kidding when he said that one of their tacos is the equivalent of two tacos anywhere else. The portion size totally justifies the price of their tacos.
One of the tacos that Jose suggested that stuck out to me immediately was the vaca frita taco because vaca frita is a traditional Cuban dish. Jose, who is originally from Cuba, said that he wanted to represent his roots along with his partner and chef Juan Pascual’s Mexican roots. They both decided to create Cuban additions to the menu, so there would be a mix of both of their cultures represented. Honestly, I was skeptical about vaca frita on a taco, but once I tried it, I realized that it is an incredible combination.
Every single bite of each taco was as if I were in my own version of food heaven, which includes tacos and margaritas. The chef, Juan, has mastered the art of making tacos. I lived in Mexico for three years, and I can say with authority that this man knows exactly what he is doing when it comes to making a delicious taco. I can’t tell you how many times I have eaten a carne asada taco in Louisville, and it still hasn’t quite lived up to the street tacos in Mexico, these did. With each bite, I was transported back to San Luis Potosí where I lived and where I would order carne asada tacos almost daily. The tacos weren’t just delicious, but they brought back so many of my fond Mexican gastronomy memories. It was at this moment that I understood all of the hype and why Taco Choza is the talk of the town.
After realizing that the food was as excellent as the customer service, I decided to try their margarita because no visit to a Mexican restaurant is complete without sipping on a margarita. The margarita tasted just the way I would expect one to taste, and I could tell that if I had a few, I’d probably end up standing on a table and singing mariachi songs. Luckily for Jose and Juan, I decided only to have one. If you aren’t a margarita fan, they have plenty of imported and domestic beers to choose from, and they even have White Claw for those of us who prefer to indulge in food calories over alcohol calories. If alcohol isn’t your thing or you are visiting with your children, then they also carry soft drinks and a variety of Mexican beverages such as Jarritos and horchata, which are classic Mexican drinks and add to the authenticity of the restaurant.
Jose and Juan decided to accompany me during my meal and discuss some of the feedback that they have received since opening on November 12th of last year. Jose and Juan said that they envisioned being successful, but they are beyond surprised by the number of fantastic reviews and the success that they have experienced. Neither of them expected to end up being listed on Yelp’s top 50 restaurants in Kentucky, nor were they expecting to be named on The Daily Meal as one of “The Best Restaurants in America for 2019, According to Yelp.” They also pointed out that they were just recently rated the #14 as Best Mexican Restaurants in the U.S., According to Yelp on Buzzfeed.
The truth is, Taco Choza is deserving of all of the recognition that they are receiving. It’s a restaurant where all walks of life can come and enjoy excellent food and a great atmosphere. It’s quaint enough to make hipsters believe that it is a hidden gem, families can take their children and know that they will actually eat their food, and it’s a place for people like me. Someone who loves tacos and looks for authenticity and a great atmosphere. It can all be found in one location, Taco Choza.
What seems to set them apart from the very saturated and competitive Mexican food market is the consistently delicious food and excellent customer service. José makes sure that customers have a pleasant ordering experience, and Juan ensures that they leave satisfied and with their palettes astonished. It’s the perfect combination, and it is what is winning Taco Choza a spot on everyone’s go-to taco destination list, and I promise you it will become your go-to Mexican restaurant once you try it.
Taco Choza is located in the heart of St. Matthews at 3922 Westport Rd, Louisville, KY 40207. Their hours of operation are Monday – Thursday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. and Sundays 12 p.m. until 9 p.m.
To view their menu and for additional information check out their website below.
You can find them on Facebook and Instagram at the links below.
This Saturday, November 23rd, 2019, they will be doing a special celebration for their year anniversary, and in order to give back to the local community who has supported them since day one, they are offering specials on tacos and margaritas. If you haven’t visited them yet, then this is the perfect opportunity!