SHAKOPEE, Minn. (WCCO) — Cinco de Mayo is less than a week away, and we wanted to make sure you’re prepared.
So we asked you to help us find the best tacos in Minnesota.
Your votes sent me to Shakopee to get a taste of Taco Loco, which is the quintessential family business.
There’s four brothers and their mother, working side by side, in a small, steamy kitchen, just about every day of week.
“We all kind of have our job that we do,” said Aurelio Mendez Jr., one of the restaurant’s co-owners. “My brother Josue, he’s the salsa man.”
“We get along most of the time,” he added, “but there’s times where somebody is not doing their job, somebody is slacking. It’s all part of the job, you know.”
They’ve been in Shakopee for more than a decade.
They left Chicago when a Minnesota businessman convinced Aurelio Mendez Sr. to bring his food and family north.
“He taught us at a young age, you know, work, respect and love your family. And that’s pretty much the motto of Taco Loco,” Aurelio Jr. said.
Aurelio Sr. passed away in 2007, but his restaurant has taken off with his boys in charge.
“There are some customers who have been eating the same thing for the last 10 years,” said Josue Mendez, one of the owning brothers. “You don’t know how hard it is for us to say like ‘Hey! It’s 2014. Let’s trying something new.'”
Whenever Matt Pagelkopf eats at Taco Loco, he makes an effort to try something different.
“It all looks good,” he said. “Then I say, ‘Give me the five-for-five tacos.'”
After one bite, you can see when people are so tied to the tacos.
Everything is done by hand. But what the brothers say sets their food apart was a lesson from their parents.
“We’re actually putting our vibes into the food, which might sound crazy to people, but my mom tells me all the time you have to treat your food like if you were making it for yourself,” said Aurelio Jr.
The Mendezes also give a lot of credit to their customers. Despite being huge Chicago sports fans, they know who’s buying their tacos.
“For all the people who voted for us, this is what I’m going do for you guys: I’m gonna put on the Wild hat and say ‘Go Wild,'” Aurelio Jr. said. “Just for tonight.”
The traditional style tacos, with cilantro, onion and lime, are $2 each.
You can get five American style beef tacos, with cheese, lettuce, tomato and sour cream, for just $5.