Hi. My name is Caitlin and I’m a taco addict.
I’m only slightly ashamed to admit how often I eat tacos — but I am a little embarrassed. And listen, sometimes I manage to go a whole week without eating a taco. So don’t get the wrong idea about me.
I know you’re not here to judge me. I know you see me for who I really am, just a cuisine writer trying to navigate a world full of tacos, looking for the next place to get my fix. And hey, there are worse things I could be, unhealthier things I could hunger for.
You get me.
Still, I’ve written about tacos before, and here I am writing about tacos again. And I know it won’t be the last time, if at least in part due to the fact that I write a food column. Oh, cruel fate.
I also know I’m not alone. There’s a place in Boulder that unabashedly caters to my dark passenger: Taco Junky.
This eatery opened up shop on University Hill in 2015, taking over the space Mamacitas Restaurant Y Cantina had occupied since 1993. It may seem like Taco Junky was just one Mexican restaurant replacing another, but owners Mike and Evey Caravello teamed up with general manager Toula Georgakopoulos to create a Latin-inspired casual dining experience that tends toward the fashionable, falling in line with the upscale restaurant movement that started building on the Hill in 2010 when Cafe Aion brought a little sophistication and a serious wine list to the area.
Similarly, Taco Junky moved in with a menu full of chic eats and a bar stocked with infused tequilas. And after a renovation, the atmosphere at Taco Junky is as lively as the name, playing off the vibrant colors found in Latin American architecture and décor while still keeping things decidedly U.S. of A (see: a mural on the wall to the left of the bar is a decades-spanning homage to American pop culture and political activism, painted by local artists Laura McGowan and William Thompson).
While simple chicken, beef and veggie tacos can be purchased on the extra-cheap — three for $5 during happy hour, which, by the way is all day on Taco Tuesdays — the main menu tacos are more… artistic. The menu takes a note from the seasonal-food movement; of the nine tacos that are always on the menu, eight change each quarter to include in-season ingredients. Just a sampling of the tacos on deck during my last visit to Taco Junky include: the Pot-Toc with potato plantain fritters, cumin lime aioli and fresno pepper; the Double-G with slow-roasted lamb, Mediterranean salsa verde, feta cheese and hummus; the B+Omega 3 with grilled salmon, edamame pesto and caramel soy bok choy; the Caymen with island jerk chicken, coconut avocado mousse and mescal pineapple.
The tacos are small, as a traditional street taco should be, but filling. Everything is fresh, mostly made in house, from the sauces to the chips to the margarita mix. On Taco Tuesday, every main-menu taco is $1 off, while house margs are $3 and infused margs are $4. It’s a taco junky’s dream.
If you’re going to have a taco problem, at least indulge your addiction in a place that respects the power and sophistication of this classic Mexican fare.
Taco Junky. 1149 13th St., Boulder,