Chipotle, Pancheros, Moe’s, Qdoba. In central New Jersey, there is an abundance of tex-mex chain restaurants for consumers to choose from. Many people may heartily defend their Chipotle burrito over the Moe’s bowl, or a diehard Qdoba fan might jokingly swear to their friends about how they will never betray their favorite cheesy quesadilla for another restaurant’s alternative menu choice. However, a new establishment has slowly come to fruition here in New Jersey – Tacoria, a tex-mex restaurant founded in 2016 in New Brunswick, New Jersey, has quickly replaced many Jerseyians’ favorites.
Living about 10 minutes away from the New Brunswick location and 5 from the Princeton location, I am no stranger to the hype behind this restaurant. A Chipotle fanatic, I rarely tend to stray away from what I know. But, after having nearly everyone rave to me about the quality of the food and the restaurant itself, I had to give it a try.
Although I was wary at first, I entered the Princeton restaurant and opened the door to a nearly packed building. Many were sitting down, enjoying their food, while another handful crowded around the pick-up area waiting for their orders. The ambiance of the restaurant was fantastic – the speakers played casual R&B beats, the air smelled of fresh Mexican food, and patrons were happily stuffing their faces.
Walking up to the register to order, I was greeted by a friendly employee. When I asked for recommendations, she told me to order the Quesadilla Suiza, which involves a simple quesadilla filled with your choice of protein, cheese, salsa, and crema, which is a Mexican cheese sauce. As I don’t eat meat, I went with one of their veggie options, golden avocado. The golden avocado is lightly breaded and then deep-fried pieces of avocado. Sounded enticing.
I received my food insanely quickly, not having even filled up my fountain drink before hearing my name called. The speed at which my order had been prepared was something I had never once experienced. I was almost hesitant to pick up the bag because I had figured there had been some sort of mistake with my order.
I went to a table to sit down and eat, and surprisingly enough it was in fact my order. Everything was very freshly made, hot, and neatly wrapped. Opening my quesadilla, I was pleasantly hit with the smell of fresh pico de gallo. Cutting open the quesadilla, cheese strung between the two pieces of the tortilla like you’d see on one of those perfect YouTube cooking tutorials which you can never quite seem to perfect.
Finally beginning to eat, the “hype” all of my friends had told me about finally struck me. I was convinced that I would never enter the doors of Chipotle ever again.
As a vegetarian, it is frustrating to eat at many restaurants, but particularly Mexican restaurants. Commonly, not many accommodations are integrated into the menu at big chains like Chipotle and Moe’s. Most times, if they are offered, it is either poorly prepared tofu or just plain old guacamole. But the fried avocado was seriously a game-changer. Not only receiving crunch from the avocado but the crispy outside of the quesadilla was a texture adventure I’d never experienced in a meatless meal.
Tacoria is slowly becoming a local phenomenon in New Jersey, and for very good reason. Prices are considerable, the ambiance is excellent, the employees are super friendly, and the food is amazing. So much so that I have turned in my Chipotle Burrito Bowl for a Tacoria Burrito Box. I would highly recommend dining here.