During lunch hour, Fuel City — the beloved travel stop that's part gas station, car wash, pseudo petting zoo and taqueria in one — is bustling with hungry construction workers and weary travelers watching a longhorn lounge under a tree. It's situated on Riverfront Boulevard under a tangle of freeways, and everyone and their mother has been there — and brought someone there — at least once. But just a mile away lies another quirky taqueria, this one inside a converted gas station and car wash. You can't get gas there anymore, but you can get a car wash and some damn fine tacos.
Cool & Hot sits just off Interstate 35 at the edge of Oak Cliff. Like Fuel City, it's convenient for travelers and almost always open, 24 hours Thursday through Sunday and 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday (Fuel City is open 24/7). If you've ever been to both and found yourself comparing the two, you're not alone:
Cool & Hot is certainly a different experience, but one that's raved about by more than one local taco enthusiast. It's a little dingy (it is a former gas station and all), but the people are friendly and the tacos are above average, even for Oak Cliff. If you're not grabbing tacos to go through the drive-through window, ring the doorbell to order at the window and step into the garage-turned-taco room to dine on a solid selection of tacos, tortas and snow cones. Like those at Fuel City, the tacos are small but cheap — you can get 10 tacos and a drink for $14.
Which is better, Fuel City or Cool & Hot? Well, that depends whom you ask — and on the experience you're looking for. If you're looking to show out-of-towners the endless kitsch of an over-the-top Texas travel stop, hit up Fuel City. But if you just want flavorful, authentic tacos from a curious spot, Cool & Hot can more than deliver.
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Cool & Hot, 930 E 8th St.