When It’s Taco Tuesday, We All Win!

BY Steph Wilson

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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. (Seems like DiningOut Events couldn’t resist the allure of nostalgia, having once staged a memorable Wedding Fest here in 2019 – an event I’ve been badgering them to revive. At least some kind of black-tie-themed bash. Denverites do love any excuse to don their best threads.)

The gist of Top Taco is simple: assemble an army of Denver’s finest culinary gladiators armed with their best taco creations and potent tequila concoctions, throw in a motley crowd of discerning palates, and let the gastronomic showdown begin. The spoils of war? Coveted titles across four categories: Top Creative Taco, Top Traditional Taco, Top Vegetarian Taco, and Top Cocktail. Boasting 5 electrifying stages, imaginatively adorned tequila lounge areas, a mezcal-tasting pavilion, and a formidable line-up of local culinary maestros, Top Taco has ascended to the summit of Denver’s summer event hierarchy. Selling out? A foregone conclusion.

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. Fans near and far convened for this cuisine carnival, basking in the mouthwatering magic, and boy, were we rewarded.

Judges’ Choice: Top Taco—Traditional

1st Place: Mama Lolita’s Mexican

8181 Arista Place, Broomfield

The phrase “rising phoenix” seems tailor-made for Mama Lolita’s, which, after reigning supreme in last year’s Judges’ Choice: Vegetarian Taco category, soared to even greater heights this year. Chef Joe Mazzocco’s Mexican marvel clinched first place in the Top Taco—Traditional category, impressing both the seasoned judges and the discerning crowd. The accolades didn’t stop there—the restaurant also bagged second place in the People’s Choice: Top Taco—Vegetarian category, and first place in the People’s Choice: Top Cocktail category.

Tucked away in Broomfield, Mama Lolita’s features prominently on Westword’s “The 100 Best Denver Restaurants We Can’t Live Without” list. Here, traditional Mexican fare is transformed into a communal dining experience, melding local produce, seasonal menus, and first-rate service to craft a lingering memory. With a convivial ambiance at its heart and tequila in its veins, Mama Lolita’s beckons: “Come for the experience; stay for the tequila.”

2nd Place: Seasoned Swine BBQ

15800 W. Colfax Ave., Golden

Perched at the confluence of Colfax and I-70, Seasoned Swine exudes a distinctly American charm with its cherry-smoked meats, homemade sides, and genial service. The Traditional Al Pastor—a piling of cherry-smoked pulled pork encased in a local Raquelita’s tortilla, garnished with fresh corn relish and homemade tomatillo salsa—was a veritable crowd-pleaser, winning the restaurant and food truck combo the second spot.

3rd Place: R&B Tacos & Grill

Food Truck

Bradley Garcia, a seasoned contestant from Worst Cooks Season 14, paired up with Ramón, a culinary artist rooted in the traditional cooking methods of Mochoacán, Mexico, to create the culinary dynamo that is R&B Tacos & Grill. As Denver’s most promising food truck, R&B Tacos serves a tantalizing array of tacos, nachos, quesadillas, and more. To track down this mobile feast, keep a close eye on the website or check the Insta. Now, if you’ll excuse me, all this talk of tacos has stirred up quite an appetite…

People’s Choice: Top Taco—Traditional

1st Place: Mama Lolita’s Mexican

8181 Arista Place, Broomfield

Last year, Mama Lolita’s won first place in the Judge’s Choice: Vegetarian Taco category, which apparently gave them a taste for winning. They came in this year hungry for more, and they got their fill. Mama Lolita’s placed in three categories: 1st Place: People’s Choice for Top Cocktail; 1st Place: People’s Choice for Top Taco, AND 2nd Place: People’s Choice for vegetarian tacos. Basically, Mama Lolita’s is gonna be the reigning champs to beat going into Top Taco 2024. Stop by the Broomfield joint to taste what the fuss is about. 

2nd Place: Beltran’s Meat Market & Grill

11920 Washington St., Northglenn

Tacos at this hidden gem in Northglenn are simple, flavorful, and delicious—and they go for $2.50–$3.50—so you can easily get your fill. It’s basically just a market with a small area for noshing on tacos from the Mexican grill. While you’re there, pick up some spices, tortillas, fresh fruits, and veggies. There’s also a great selection of meats—including carne seca—and seafood on offer as well. Stop by tomorrow on Aug. 23 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 to celebrate the Jarritos Birthday Tour. Why? Free tacos and free Jarritos, duh. Plus photo ops, giant toma toda, Plinko, a taco eating contest, candy launch activity, and more. Basically, good times are guaranteed. 

3rd Place: R&B Tacos & Grill

Food Truck

When you want that good, traditional Mexican food, find this food truck. Bradley Garcia kept cooking after his win on Worst Cooks Season 14 and he’s now one-half of Denver’s best up-and-coming restaurant on wheels. The other half, Ramón, grew up in Mochoacán, Mexico, learning the traditional preparation and cooking methods that make R&B Tacos & Grill stand out. To find the food truck, head to the website or check the Insta.

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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