Campus Food Review: Taqueria is more convenient than Taco Bell, I guess

Taqueria is the newest build-a-taco restaurant in the Student Union. It replaced the Union Burger in the fall of 2019, which replaced a Mexican restaurant called Caliente in the fall of 2018. So the Student Union is right back to where it started.

Taqueria uses the “Subway method” of ordering. That is, selecting ingredients one-by-one and moving down a line. Being as anti-social as I am, I absolutely despise this method of ordering because it forces me to interact with more people. However, the employees at Taqueria made the process an absolute breeze and a very pleasant experience.

Taqueria’s menu lists the calories of each ingredient, making it easier for customers to track their consumption. Image courtesy of the Seawolf Dining website.

Taqueria has plenty of ingredients one would expect at a taco restaurant. There are different types of tortillas, such as soft flour and crispy corn, meats such as achiote orange chicken and the classic seasoned beef and a wide variety of toppings, from queso to pickled red onions to guacamole. Brown rice, cilantro lime rice and chipotle black beans are available as sides. I’m not entirely sure they’re higher quality than what you would get at a fast-food restaurant like Taco Bell, though.

There was one “main attraction” that caught my eye, however,  vaguely named “vegan.” I wasn’t brave enough to opt for this option, though.

For this review, I decided to keep my order fairly standard to have a solid base to judge the food and compare it to other taco restaurants. I ordered two tacos, one with a soft flour tortilla and one with a crispy corn tortilla, each with seasoned beef, brown rice, lettuce and cheese.

The food was warmer than what I have come to expect from ordering at the Taco Bell drive-thru, although it was only a matter of seconds from ordering to eating my food. The tortillas were the correct textures. The crispy corn was firm and crunchy, while the soft flour was pleasantly chewy. Unfortunately, they were about the size of a large sand dollar. Considering two tacos cost $5, it makes sense, but it was still disappointing.

I was surprised by the spice in the seasoned beef. It snuck up on me after a few bites and added another layer of flavor onto the beef mixture. It was different than the typical meat paste I’ve come to expect from Taco Bell but didn’t necessarily taste better. The lettuce and cheese were serviceable, but nothing to write home about.

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Overall, I thought Taqueria’s food was decent, but not extraordinary. I suppose it doesn’t have to be the best taco restaurant, considering the Student Union is meant to be a general “hang-out” space.

That being said, if I’m going to make a bad decision, I’m doing it the right way. I’m going to go to Taco Bell and order four Chalupa Supremes, two orders of Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes with no sour cream and a 12-pack of Cinnabon Delights. Don’t judge me.

I give Taqueria a 2/5 for the warm service and convenient location.