When It’s Taco Tuesday, We All Win!

BY Steph Wilson

SHARE

This year, the storied pageantry of deliciousness known as Top Taco returned, defying the ordinary, and dared to spill its saucy wares at a new spot: Westminster City Park.

The gist of Top Taco is simple: assemble an army of Denver’s finest taco makers armed with their best creations and potent tequila concoctions, throw in a motley crowd of discerning palates, and let the tortilla-wrapped showdown begin. The spoils of war? Coveted titles across four categories: Top Creative Taco, Top Traditional Taco, Top Vegetarian Taco, and Top Cocktail. 

In the heat of the culinary fray, the flavors were bold and brave, fighting tooth and nail for supremacy. Tacos were not just devoured; they were celebrated. And then they were voted on. The people have spoken—the expert judges have, too—and they declared these to be the Top Tacos: Creative of 2023. 

Judges’ Choice: Top Taco—Creative Taco

1st Place: The Eddy Taproom & Hotel

1640 8th St., Golden

At The Eddy, a taproom and hotel out in Golden, Truck Eddy brings mouth-watering BBQ to the hungry people who frequent the joint. They’re known for their smoked meats–alpine-brined pulled pork, smoked sausage, house-smoked brisket, burnt ends—typically served on toasted brioche. 

At The Taproom, the menu centers on fresh local ingredients and seasonal fare. One menu staple: Sweet Potato Taco: mole-spiced sweet potato, pickled red onions, roasted serrano chimichurri, crema, and sesame crunch on a flour tortilla.

Combine the best qualities of the taproom with those of the truck and what do you get? You get named the Top Taco in Denver by DiningOut’s panel of expert judges—and we all win. 

2nd Place: Chile con Quesadilla

227 N Main St, Brighton

Defending a title held two years running, Chile Con Quesadilla was fired up at Top Taco 2024—and so were their legion of fans waiting in what just may have been the longest line at the festival. With good reason: who doesn’t want a taste of the tacos from the most award-winning taco truck in Denver? Especially when it comes with a side of entertainment from the bull-riding pen and from the Chile Con Quesadilla hype man getting the people pumped to try The Baby Daddy, served with a side of cheese sauce and absolutely worth the wait. 

The champion Chile Con Quesadilla food truck just opened a permanent location at 227 N. Main Street in Brighton, so you can roll yourself over to them for a chance to get a taste of what it feels like to be a winner or follow them on social to catch the prettiest pink food truck in town when it’s parked in your neighborhood. 

Here’s what the Chile con Quesadilla had to say about the second-place win: 

Typically we are a “If u ain’t 1st, ur last” kind of Ricky Bobby squad, however, competing against 60 other restaurants and food trucks, 2nd Place is still a WIN! 

It was one of the roughest weeks leading up to Top Taco, however, the team pulled it together & everyone stepped up despite the challenges, which we are forever grateful for Our foundation is & unbreakable ! 

**Three years in a row

3rd Place: Camarones Enchilados with El Cachetón

Food Truck

The taco creators at El Cacheton (full name: Tacos y Micheladas El Cachetón, aka The Michelada King) teamed up with the brand-spanking new taco truck Camarones Enchilados and magic ensued. So much magic that the team’s entry earned its way into the hearts and stomachs of our tasting panel of expert judges and won their votes and adoration. 

El Cacheton—Spanish for “fat cheeks,” which is owner Steven Salazar’s nickname—is not open to the public but you can book the award-winning truck for catering—and trust us, everyone will be as happy as our judges. The former food truck is known for its shrimp micheladas, a dish with tasty sauces, avocados, and shrimp, and Camarones Enchiladas is off to a fiery start, so keep your eyes peeled for the new truck rolling around town to find yourself a tasty taco treat. 

People’s Choice: Top Taco—Creative Taco

1st Place: My Neighbor Felix

LoHi: 1801 Central St., Denver

Boulder: 901 Pearl St., Boulder

DTC: 7209 S. Clinton St., Centennial

Colorado Springs: coming soon!

Just left of the main stage, the team at this leading local upscale Mexican restaurant group served up the creative taco that the people loved most of all—and we can see why. My Neighbor Felix prides itself on authentic recipes made using quality, fresh, local, natural ingredients whenever possible. That means organic Colorado grass-fed beef, local Colorado chicken, organic Colorado pork, and Colorado produce. The pan-Mexican fare at all the My Neighbor Felix locations is inspired from all seven regions of Mexico, all of which pair perfectly with the creative margaritas they were pouring at the festival. If you didn’t get a chance to try their taco (there were so many tacos!), don’t fret: there’s probably a My Neighbor Felix not too far from you. 

2nd Place: Gringos Tacos

Coors Field, Red Rocks, Fiddler’s Green, & Ball Area

Gringos Tacos Denver was founded by Travis Nicoletti and Chris Carey in 2020 as a pop-up location inside Biker Jim’s. The food truck launched in 2021. You can catch up with the truck at Red Rocks Amphitheater’s North Bar for every show, and at Bandimere Speedway for all major races. At Top Taco 2022, they took home first place in the People’s Choice category. They kept the momentum going into 2023, and their crew had the crowds going crazy, which earned them an abundance of votes from the People, earning their entry a second-place finish in the Top Taco: Creative category. To see what the fuss is about, keep an eye out for Gringo’s next time you go to Coors Field, Red Rocks, Fiddler’s Green, or Ball Arena. 

3rd Place: Wild Taco Denver

215 E. 7th Ave. Denver

Owners Rico Aragon, Flor Aragon, and Yoon Terry are experienced industry veterans who have capitalized on their love of Mexican food with a twist. Terry is originally from South Korea, and the Aragon siblings hail from Chihuahua, Mexico. Together, they are coming up with some of the wildest tacos in Denver. For Top Taco 2023, the team presented The Pork Belly Ssam Taco—Gochujan, Korean red chili flakes, tamari, garlic, ginger, daikon-carrot kimchi blanco, perilla leaves, and scallions. Incredibly different—and incredibly tasty—it’s no surprise it scored them a bronze medal in this year’s competition. If you missed it, you can still get a taste; they put the award winner on the menu as the Taco of the Month. Also on the menu: unexpected taco fillers like cactus, Korean fried tofu, bulgogi, and chicken and waffle. Our suggestion: try them all.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steph Wilson

Steph Wilson is a writer, editor, and creative maximalist in Denver. She makes magazines for a living and throws color around the world like confetti for fun.

More For You

May 21, 2024

As Restaurants Change, Cafe Brazil Remains a Neighborhood Staple, For Now

May 21, 2024

5 Best Food + Drink Events in Denver This Week

May 20, 2024

Swipe Right For These Dating App Hot Spots

May 17, 2024

Fat-Washed Cocktails Add Heft to Denver Drink Menus

Search

COPYRIGHT © 2009–2024, DININGOUT. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED