Casual Dining at Torchy's Tacos in Houston
It Started in Texas!
The fun Torchy's Tacos chain originated with the expertise of Chef Michael Rypka in Austin, Texas.
Chef Rypka started with a food truck before having his first brick and mortar location. From what I've read, almost as soon as he began experimenting with different types of tacos, "damn good!" was a frequently heard expression of appreciation from his customers.
Those patron-approved tacos made it on to a permanent menu. Still, even today, they offer a taco of the month with different flavor combinations.
As of this writing, there are eight locations in the Houston area, 11 locations in Texas, two sites in Colorado, and one in Oklahoma. Perhaps they will keep expanding all across the nation. I guess time will tell!
Little Red Devil
My husband and I were spending some time in the Houston Heights one day. I was photographing some murals and other items for future articles. We noticed the cleverly decorated Torchy's Tacos building at 350 W. 19th Street, so we decided to stop in and try some of the food.
Our attention was drawn to the little red devil staring out of a window. It was hard to miss! We have returned several times since and have always enjoyed delicious food selections.
Customers can pick up a laminated menu by the door and study it as they stand in line to order. We have yet to visit when there has not been a line. It seems to be popular!
Once an order is placed, one is given a number to hang on a stand by the table or booth. The food order, when ready, is brought to the table.
There are some outside tables available, as well as inside.
My husband and I enjoy their food offerings. We love their red salsa, black beans, and their queso is a real treat for the tastebuds. Several times, when we have not been that hungry but just wanted to eat a little something, we have ordered their refried black beans and their salsa. Both come with chips. I have not photographed everything we have ever tried but snapped a few pictures.
The names of the different tacos have some quirky names. You can read about a few of those names below.
- Democrat Taco: Shredded beef barbacoa. Most of it served in the United States comes from the cheeks of cows. It is delicious! The barbacoa has toppings of avocado, queso fresco, cilantro, onions, and a wedge of lime. Tomatillo sauce comes on the side, and it is typically served on a corn tortilla.
- Mr. Orange Taco: Blackened salmon taco on a corn tortilla. It also includes grilled corn, a black bean relish, queso fresco & cilantro. Avocado salsa tops it off, and it is served with a wedge of lime. This taco is as pretty as it is tasty.
- Trailer Park Taco: Boneless fried chicken on a flour tortilla. Accompanying it is green chiles, pico de gallo, lettuce and cheese. A poblano sauce is served on the side.
- Baja Shrimp Taco: Tasty fried shrimp taco served on one's choice of tortillas. My favorite was corn. With the shrimp were a cooked cabbage slaw, pickled jalapeno onions, cilantro, and queso fresco. A wedge of lime is also served as well as a chipotle sauce on the side.
Choices of tortillas can be made when ordering at the counter if one prefers flour ones over corn.
La Centerra Location in Katy, TX
The other location that we have personally visited is in Katy, which is due west of Houston. It is in the La Centerra shopping center in Cinco Ranch. I like this upscale location! As you can see from the photos, it is beautifully landscaped with water features weaving through the shopping center.
If dining at the outside tables, one is likely to have some ducks begging for scraps of food. One lady we watched shared some of her tortilla chips with them, and the ducks happily gobbled them up.
Location of Torchy's Tacos in Katy: 23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd. N100, Katy, Texas 77494.
Supporting Good Causes
Torchy's gives a portion of its profits to support three good causes.
- MD Anderson Cancer Center: Is there any family who has not known someone suffering from cancer?
- Make-A-Wish Foundation: Helps grant the wishes of children who have life-threatening medical conditions.
- Phoenix House: Treats people for substance abuse and mental health issues.
It is always wonderful to know that businesses help to support their communities and good causes. It makes one happier to spend some of our income with them!
When it's done properly, taco should be a verb.— Jonathan Gold
© 2020 Peggy Woods