Taqueria Durango Experience Summary
Taqueria Durango is the quintessential hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant. For me, the more unassuming the outside, the better the food inside.
Baby Tongue Disclaimer: I have to say that Mexican food is not my area of expertise. I only started eating it in college because my parents never got it in NJ. I've since had it a fair amount in California, North Carolina, and now in St. Louis. But I haven't been all over the country eating Mexican food. For example, I've never had Tex-Mex in Texas.
Taqueria Durango is my personal favorite of the four or five Mexican restaurants I've had in the area, including Taco Buddha and Mission Taco in the loop. The big draw for me is Ahogada Torta, which I'll explain more about in the food section. It's my favorite menu item of all time at a Mexican restaurant.
Everything at Taqueria Durango comes in a huge portion and is very affordable. I could probably fill myself up for $5-7 and enjoy every bite.
There is plenty of parking in the similarly needed Durango Plaza. The restaurant was packed at 11:45 a.m. on a Thursday, and it's generally like that on the weekends, but I've never had to wait for a table.
Come hungry and with calories to spare. On my diet of 1750 calories, I was happy to spend 950 on lunch.
The Food At Taqueria Durango
We're going to start with me sharing my love for this Ahogada Torta.
It's a giant pulled pork and onion sandwich covered in some kind of tomato sauce. It's a fancy Mexican sloppy joe, which might be one way to describe it.
It is fantastic.
The pulled pork would rival any kind of local barbecue place. I mean, it's not quite as good as Salt and Smoke, but the pulled pork is moist and flavorful. They chop sauteed onions directly into the pork, so every bite combines the pulled pork and onions.
The bread it comes on isn't anything special, but it soaks up the juice from the pork and the sauce. Honestly, while it's more just a vehicle for the sauce, it does its job well.
Which brings us to the sauce. Not the slightest idea what is in the sauce, but I'm guessing it's a tomato base with Mexican spices. If people didn't look at me funny, I would drink it.
Combine the pulled pork, onion, and sauce, and my god, you just come out the other end of the meal happy.
Chips And Salsa
They serve a free, unlimited basket of tortilla chips and salsa. Only some Mexican restaurants do it, including Taqueria Durango, and it's a great perk.
As is my review philosophy, we will use Tostitos as a baseline of 5 on a scale of 1 to 10.
These chips are a 4.
They are more fried than Tostitos, making them crispier, oilier, and thinner. They are too thin for me; getting enough salsa on them is hard. I'm not complaining about free chips; I just think the chips at places like the defunct Casa Maya were significantly better.
Chips aside - the salsa is way more exciting. They offer three salsas by default with the chips, and they are all flavorful, thin, and spicy. There's a green one, a dark one, and a light orange one. Notes:
My favorite is the dark salsa, which is probably some roasted pepper concoction.
The green salsa is by far the spiciest. Green >> Dark > Orange
No real chunks in the salsa, hence "thin"
I've also mixed all three, and that's good.
And a tip - wait for water before you taste the salsa. I made this mistake, and my mouth was on fire until the water came.
Other Basic Mexican Food
I've been there with my family and friends three or four other times. My kids get beef tacos with rice, refined beans, chicken tenders, and fries. My wife normally springs for the chicken quesadilla.
I usually get the kids leftover refried beans at the meal's end, which are solid. Between the four of us, there's always enough leftovers to bring home for me to have lunch the next day.
They serve Coke in glass bottles, so I highly recommend a Coke to round out the meal. I'd say about 50% of tables were getting Coke, and if I hadn't been on a diet, I would have sprung for one.
My friends have gotten margaritas, and the margaritas are enormous. I have not had one, but they had two big ones each - so they must have liked them enough to get a refill.
Taqueria Durango Atmosphere And Miscellaneous
It's a great restaurant for kids for a couple of reasons:
It's always loud and packed, so no one cares if the kids run around or yell.
They have great food options for kids between the tacos and the chicken tenders,
Service can be slow, and no one really greets you when you come in, so pick a table and sit down. I got in there at 11:45 a.m. on a Thursday, and it was already three-quarters packed. It filled up while I was there.
It took them twenty minutes to take my order, and other tables were in a similar situation. But then the food came out five minutes later, so the total time there was standard.
It's packed, so the three or four people serving are just running back and forth. I guess it takes a minute to get the food ready when that many people are eating.
The restaurant is a hole in the wall, but very pleasant to eat in. It's just one big, open room. Most seats have a view into the kitchen. The bar is also very well stocked and put together. Durango also has two or three TVs up and running at any time.
Parking At Taqueria Durango
Taqueria Durango is part of the Durango Plaza off Page Road, and there's always parking available. I never had any issues the four or five times I've been there at all points in the day.
Taqueria Durango Receipt