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Austin's Tacodeli Makes Waves in the Dallas Taco Scene

The Austin Tex-Mex taqueria Tacodeli has grown a loyal fan base since founder Roberto Espinosa opened the first location in 1999, then grew his chain to five locations in the capital. Now he's spreading the taco love up Interstate 35 with his first Dallas restaurant, in the Sylvan 30 development in Oak Cliff. Can he compete in a city that's awash in a tide of tacos?

Good question. Here's another one: Can you ever have too many good taco choices? Ever?

Yeah, didn't think so. So, bienvenido a Big D, Tacodeli. 

Tacodeli's motto is "Local. Real. Delicious." Its menu holds an attractive selection of meat and vegetable options with mild to mouth-tingling sauces. By "local," the Dallas Tacodeli outpost doesn't mean Austin. General manager Shelby Bentley says Dallas’ La Nortena Tortillas supplies the handmade corn and flour tortillas here, and they're so good the Austin locations are jealous. (Poor Austin. Always soooo jealous of Dallas, the city that, deep down in its heart, Austin wants to be.)

We tried El Conquistador, a pork taco topped with a robust chile pasilla sauce whose meat is roasted to an easy crispiness that offsets soft avocado, cilantro and onion. A full roster of vegetarian options includes the Space Cowboy, a version of the Cowboy taco that replaces Cowboy-rubbed beef tenderloin with roasted portabello mushrooms topped with grilled corn, caramelized onions, roasted peppers, guacamole and queso fresco. The veggie version recently made Texas Monthly’s newest list of 120 tacos you must eat.

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The beef selection is by far the most numerous. Several offer grilled sirloin, but there's also the Tacoloco, with braised brisket, and the akaushi picadillo, with seasoned HeartBrand Ranch akaushi ground beef, from a breed of Japanese cows. The meaty version of the Cowboy is a standout, thanks partly to a rub that uses a dark roast coffee especially made for Tacodeli by Dallas’ Tweed Coffee.

Be sure to keep an eye on Tacodeli’s monthly taco specials. The Chiles en Nogada is featured this month. It's a green chile relleno stuffed with Texas-grown wagyu beef and covered with a white, creamy sauce made of walnut and goat cheese. Red pomegranate seeds bring a touch of red. (Green, white and red are the colors of the Mexican flag, and Chiles en Nogada are often served in celebration of Christmas or Mexican Independence Day during September. )

Tacodeli is open 7 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. weekends. Their wildly popular breakfast tacos are served until 11 a.m. weekdays and all day on weekends. 

Find Tacodeli at 1878 Sylvan Ave., 214-760-1930.

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