Monday, March 28, 2011
Proceed With Caution: You Are Entering a Hard Shell Area.
First things first, if you’re expecting Taco Factory to be a place like where you step up to the counter to order and then a foreman pulls a giant lever and the gears start grinding on some kind of automaton -- a tacomaton, if you will -- which then cranks out your food, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. I know this, because despite the illustration on the wall, I could totally see into the kitchen where a couple of guys were clearly making my tacos by hand. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Since Kansas City Lunch Spots already posted a fairly comprehensive review of Taco Factory, I wasn’t actually planning on writing about it when I stopped in with Shaw and McHugh. Especially since The DLC called it “a middle of the road, cheapish whitey taco place that caters to boring people and drunks.” Still, we needed something relatively quick, and Taco Factory was on our way to play some cards at Dave’s house.
I ordered three soft baja tacos -- shredded beef, shredded pork and tempura fish (all tacos are $1.99 each). Once you place your order, you take a seat and wait for your number to appear on a monitor. It kind of feels like playing Keno, or at least it does to me, keeping in mind I’ve got a strange inability to comprehend how Keno works no matter how many times people have tried to explain it.
My number came up, and I got my tacos from the kitchen window. While the tacos here are no means authentic, I’m glad to report that I thought they were pretty delicious. The beef and pork were both well seasoned and juicy, and the batter on the fish was just light enough to give the taco a satisfying internal crunch without being too heavy.
Standard toppings include lettuce, tomatoes, Monterey Jack, cilantro, red cabbage, feta and aioli sauce. It was the feta and aioli sauce that really did it for me. Alas, the hot salsa my tacos were served with had zero heat, although the aioli sauce was so good it rendered the salsa a moot point anyway.
Tacos are available either soft or crispy, and the other filling options are ground beef, chicken, ground turkey and grilled veggie. You can also get a taco plate with two tacos plus rice and beans ($5.99), but I didn’t do that, because I will go with a third taco over rice and beans any day of the week.
We split an order of chips and salsa ($2.29), as well. Again, the salsa didn’t register, but the chips were good -- not too thick and not too thin. Shaw got his tacos crispy, and said he would’ve preferred a thinner shell that was more like the chips.
Outside of tacos, Taco Factory’s menu has burritos, quesadillas, salads and more with the same filling options. Bucking convention, McHugh got a burrito ($5.49-$5.99, depending on filling). I was impressed with the robotic precision of the queso application. Maybe instead of being an automated taco factory, this place is run by taco-making cyborgs.
Another difference between Taco Factory and actual factories is that it’s super bright in here -- and if I’ve learned anything from industrial films and various propaganda, it’s that factories are soul-crushingly dank. Taco Factory is so open and well lit, it’s almost like you’re on the set of The Max.
All in all, Taco Factory is a good bet for a quick bite. And for dessert they’ve got Choco Tacos ($2.79), which I’ve always thought are awesome. I’m glad I resisted the temptation to get one tonight, however, because we stopped at QuikTrip later and I saw they’ve got Choco Tacos for $1 less. But perhaps I shouldn’t mention that -- I don’t want the Waldo Taco Cyborg Labor Union coming after me.
7439 Broadway | Waldo, MO 64114