Cheap Eats: Top Tacos
From pork to jackfruit, it's no secret tacos are a fast-casual favorite in Columbus. Gather some spare change and take a bite out of these five done-right staples.
Prep for El Camino Inn's chicken tenga tacos ($2 apiece) begins at 6 a.m., says general manager Brooke Gerig. A prep chef oven-marinates chicken in pepper and spices for several hours before it's shredded and served in double-wrapped tortillas with onion and cilantro. Between bites, Gerig recommends sipping on a traditional El Camino Margarita ($7). 238 S. Fourth St., 614.220.8877 elcaminoinn.co
The secret to Hass' Carne Asada tacos? Owner Israel Jimenez says it's a Sonora-style hickory wood-fired grill that imparts a natural spiciness. At $2.25 a pop, order two or three tacos and wash them down with a peppery michelada ($5). Think Mexican shandy; it's made with beer, citrus and spices and served in a salt-rimmed glass. 7370 Sawmill Rd., Dublin, 614-760-0155
The Jackfruit Taco ($3.50 apiece, or two for $5 on Tuesday) has become one of Strongwater's most popular orders. Wrapped in a soft tortilla, this slow-cooked Southeast Asian fruit looks like shredded chicken underneath a bed of bright-purple, slightly spicy Sriracha slaw and a spattering of chimichurri rojo. Complement your tacos with a Quinoa Slider ($3), which tastes like pad Thai between two buns. 401 W. Town St., Franklinton, 614-928-3170, strongwatercolumbus.com
The pork for Los Guachos' tacos al pastor ($1.50 each) bathes in a zesty mix of peppers, tomatoes and spices for 24 hours. "Pineapple is actually put on top of the spit, so the juices run down into the meat," business partner Vincent Fasone says. Pair with the house-made hibiscus water ($1.50). 5221 Godown Rd., North Side, 614-538-0211; 1376 Cherry Bottom Rd., Gahanna, 614-471-4717, los-guachos.com