When It’s Taco Tuesday, We All Win!

BY Steph Wilson

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Last month, the storied pageantry of deliciousness known as Top Taco returned and dared to spill its saucy wares at a new spot: Westminster City Park. The tapestry of Top Taco is spread out, far from your average munch fest. Denver’s most audacious taco maestros converged, and their culinary arsenals spiked with tequila revelations. As the tasting frenzy grew, the glint of four titles beckoned: Top Creative Taco, Top Traditional Taco, Top Vegetarian Taco, and Top Cocktail. But the crown jewel? The high-octane VIP Surf & Turf Showdown.

In this nexus of culinary combat, tacos were elevated from mere sustenance to legends. Devoured, revered, and then thrust into democracy’s litmus test: the popular vote. The VIP crowd and the connoisseur caucus rendered their verdicts. So who emerged as the gladiator of the VIP Surf & Turf arena?

VIP Surf & Turf Showdown

Mar y Tierra wasn’t just a contest—it was an epicurean fiesta in the VIP tent. This journey through terra firma and the deep blue saw eight of the region’s culinary vanguards joust for Denver’s supreme surf-and-turf taco title.

Complementing the face-off was a cascade of inventive cocktails from Patrón and Diageo Spirits, the snap of Estrelia Jalisco brews, an endless parade of Pepsi potions, and the ever-present promise of serendipitous discoveries. For the aficionados: culinary masterclasses, pockets of relaxation, snapshot hubs, and a sprinkle of delightful whimsy. But at the center of it all stood the top surf-and-turf tacos in the land, so judged by our expert panel of tastemakers and the VIP ticketholders alike. These are the culinary masters who won these elite groups over with their tortilla-wrapped taste bombs.

Judges’ Choice: Top Taco—VIP Surf & Turf

1st Place: Ta-Co Mucho Bueno

1601 19th St, Denver

Colorful, authentic Mexican cuisine from chef Edgar Drago and his wife Karla. To get a taste of their stuff, head to Mile Post Zero at McGregor Square in Denver’s Ballpark neighborhood. They are a new addition to the MPZ lineup, having just opened in March. The people need to put their money where their mouth is and go get some tacos in a show of support. 

2nd Place: GQue BBQ

Westminster: 5160 W. 120th Ave., Westminster

Lone Tree: 8433 Park Meadows Center Dr., Lone Tree

Lakewood: 7085 W. Alaska Dr., Lakewood

Bearing titles like the “Sultan of Swine” and “Maestro of Meat,” Jason Ganahl’s GQue BBQ is no mere pit stop—it’s a meaty Mecca that won first place at last year’s Chicken Fight! And with this year’s Chicken Fight! fest on the horizon—the all-you-can-eat-drink-and-ride extravaganza of good times takes over Elitch Gardens next week on August 24 and tickets are going fast—GQue is the place to prep your palate.

3rd Place: Denver Poke Co.

1550 Platte St, Denver

Charting a course from Aspen’s Kenichi to Denver’s illustrious Sushi Den, Anh Nguyen finally anchored with Denver Poke Company. A bastion where the catch of the day isn’t a slogan—it’s a creed worth tasting for yourself. Swing by Platte Street to taste for yourself what the fresh fuss is all about.

People’s Choice: Top Taco—VIP Surf & Turf

1st Place: Ta-Co Mucho Bueno

McGregor Square: 1601 19th St, Denver

The people in VIP have spoken, and they agreed with the judges: Ta-Co Mucho Bueno did Mar Y Tierra better than the rest. While there’s no “mar” on their regular menu, you can get your fill of all the land-based meats in the…land…from their stall at McGregor’s Mile Post Zero. And you can get roasted cauliflower in your tortilla, too. 

2nd Place: GQue Championship BBQ

Westminster: 5160 W. 120th Ave., Westminster

Lone Tree: 8433 Park Meadows Center Dr., Lone Tree

Lakewood: 7085 W. Alaska Dr., Lakewood

The “Sultan of Swine” and “Maestro of Meat,” Jason Ganahal of GQue earned the silver in both Judge’s Choice and the People’s Choice? No wonder you’ll often see the company’s name listed as “GQue Championship BBQ”—they’ve earned it.

3rd Place: Gaucho Parrilla

15177 Candelas Pkwy, Arvada

Gaucho Parrilla is an Argentinean-influenced concept from chef Oscar Padilla, featuring locally sourced ingredients prepared with love and cooked over a wood-fired grill. Fresh from his conquest on Food Network’s Chopped, his Freedom Street Social spot serves brunch, lunch, and dinner to hungry crowds in Arvada, who can’t get enough of the Latin-style tapas and entrées like the Chorpian—Argentinian chorizo with caramelized onions and chimichurri on a French roll. If you stop by for brunch, you’ve gotta try the Plantains & Bacon—chipotle-honey butter, sour cream, and dulce de leche sauce. Is your stomach growling? My stomach’s growling…

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.

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