By Adam Barr Photo by Dean Van Dis
LET’S TALK TACOS Where to Find the Finest Tacos in Town What defines a good taco? Ask the question in a crowded room, and watch friends become foes.
TAQUERIA SAN JOSÉ Tacos worthy of a celebration
Debates may rage over corn vs. flour, authentic vs. modern and which spots are slinging the best, but most agree it’s all a matter of preference.
Christmas lights line the perimeter of its awning, while a festive tree sits on top. The gifts? They come from the kitchen—well-seasoned proteins and classic toppings wrapped with two corn tortillas. Located on Division, just south of Hall Street, Taqueria San José has minimal seating and little standing room to spare—so avoid lunch and dinner hours, or be prepared for a bit of a crunch. Once your order is up, enjoy what many assert are the best tacos in town. Location: 1338 South Division Avenue, Grand Rapids, MI 49507
It's time we come together as one taco-loving community, because if there’s one thing everyone can agree on, it’s this: Grand Rapids has a solid selection to choose from.
MAGGIE’S KITCHEN A classic spot that never gets old In an area continually sprouting new restaurants and breweries, Maggie’s Kitchen has been a West Side favorite for more than 30 years. This restaurant checks all the boxes—authentic tacos, plenty of seating and service with a smile. The barbacoa taco may be the best of the bunch, but stop by and decide for yourself. You place the order. They call your number. You’ll definitely be back for more. Location: 636 Bridge St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
DONKEY TAQUERIA Setting the bar in a growing culinary district In both taste and atmosphere, Donkey hits the spot. Located in a renovated service station, Donkey calls the growing Wealthy Street neighborhood home. There since 2013, Donkey embraces classic recipes with a gourmet twist. The dining area has plenty of seating that extends to the outdoors when the weather is right. Tacos come à la carte, so try a few (be sure al pastor and chorizo are in the mix). Wash ‘em down with a michelada. Repeat as needed. Location: 665 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
TACOS EL CAPORAL Real-deal tacos from an authentic Mexican kitchen Head south of the border—the Grand Rapids border, that is—for a frills-free taco experience. The atmosphere isn’t anything to write home about, but the food’s another story. The tacos come with a variety of accompaniments— including radishes and grilled onions—and the red and green salsas have just the right amount of spice. The pollo, asada and chorizo tacos? All good. If you’re up for something different, try the lengua (cow tongue). Then put it on Instagram to show your friends how adventurous you are. Location: 260 Burton St SW, Wyoming, MI 49509
accompanied by a chef’s choice of side. The menu changes with the season, but you’ll have no problem finding something suited to your liking—as long as your liking is flavor-packed and Latin-inspired. Location: 64 Ionia Avenue SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
JOSÉ BABUSHKA'S A modern spot satisfying dual cravings “I’m craving Mexican,” part of you says. “Polish also sounds good,” says another part of you. You strike an inner compromise and head to José Babushka's, where they’re serving dishes inspired by both cultures. Nestled in Gaslight Village, not far from Reeds Lake, José Babushka's offers a menu dominated by Mexican-inspired favorites – tacos included – with a nod toward traditional Polish cuisine. There are umpteen tacos to choose from, ranging from the expected (chicken and al pastor) to the not-so-expected (alligator and BBQ pork). The shrimp tacos are probably the consensus favorite, so swing by for a plate, and pair it with the signature margarita. Location: 2232 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
LUNA A fitting addition near the heart of Grand Rapids New to the scene, Luna fits right in on Ionia Street thanks to its diverse menu and upbeat atmosphere. Residents and visitors are drawn by Luna’s depth of options and popular happy hour—but here, tacos are king. Inspired by Latin America street food, Luna has only a few taco options (quality over quantity), each