With all of the quality taco options within reach, we’re straight up spoiled here in Austin. It takes a lot to impress me now; you might say I’ve become a bit jaded. And after finding Granny’s Tacos, I wonder if I’ll ever be impressed by another taco again. It’s tough living in this city.
At first glance, there’s something different about this taco “truck.” That’s because it’s a taco ambulance. “I used to save lives in my previous career, but now I’m helping to serve up some of the best tacos in the city,” the vehicle told me. “I like having a more regular schedule.” (At least that’s what I think it would say, if it could talk).
In Queso Emergency
Maria Rios Vega and Armando Vazquez, husband and wife, adopted this ambulance back in May 2016 and decided to make their food truck dreams a reality. They cleaned and painted the vehicle, rebuilt the inside, and named it after Vega’s mother, “Granny.”
Granny’s Tacos is open every day except Sunday, and there’s a parking lot on the block if you can’t find street parking. There’s a well-maintained area with picnic tables and a garden right in front of the truck, errr…ambulance. Across the street, you’ll see my other favorite east Austin eatery, Kebabalicious. I think this is the most delicious block in the city. “We love it here on the east side,” Vega told me.
This is a two-person operation. Vega does all of the cooking, while Vazquez takes orders at the window. “He’s a good helper,” Vega says with a smile. “And his English has been getting better from taking orders.”
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Let’s Taco ‘Bout the Menu at Granny’s Tacos
The newest item on the menu, the campechano taco, consists of flavorful steak and chorizo with pico. I added the homemade red chipotle salsa for extra kick. The two meats were tender and juicy, complementing each other perfectly. I recommend getting all of the tacos on corn tortillas, which are homemade and the best I’ve ever had.
I also tried the abuela taco. This masterpiece was made of shredded pork with adobo sauce, pico, and avocado. It’s Granny’s second most popular taco and I could clearly taste why. It’s a combination of flavors perfected over the years. “These recipes come from way back, from my great-grandparents in Mexico” Vega shared.
The chilaquiles taco with mole sauce is on my personal Tacos of the Year list. This taco, Granny’s most popular, holds shredded chicken, cheese, onions, and a pickled jalapeño mixed with a mole sauce passed down through generations. It’s delicious, and I’m far from the only one who holds this taco as almost sacred. If you enjoy eating food, then you need to try this taco.
So Many Tacos, So Little Time/Dime
Everything I had the day of my visit cost me a total of $10. I left full and satisfied (and that’s saying something).
The taco truck industry is far from niche in this city, but Granny’s Tacos is special. There’s the food, the atmosphere, and the warm and genuine people making it all happen in that ambulance. Vega and Vazquez’ endeavor has been a passion project of sorts, and it’s one I will support as much as I can.
“This is our hobby, so we’re happy,” Vega told me. “I love to make tacos for people.” Through her hobby, a family tradition lives on. “Now that my mother is gone, I am the Granny. I try to carry on her legacy.”
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Jonas White has lived all over the country, but loves his new home city of Austin. He spends his time editing for a Danish publishing house and exploring the food scene, working his way down the list of recommendations he’s received. On weekends, Jonas can often be found showing off the city to his out-of-town friends who seem to always be visiting.