Plano’s Best Gas Station Tacos

As human beings, we have all kinds of views on the world and how it should spin. But no matter our backgrounds, fears and dreams, we all share in common one thing: Every one of us wants a good, cheap taco from time to time.

While there is no shortage of taquerías in Plano, some are harder to find than others. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, and you appreciate a budget-friendly, authentic meal, I’ve found several diamonds in the rough –– unsung eateries, if you will –– that serve up good, fresh tacos –– and cheap! My three favorites are modest restaurants, all located inside of gas station convenience stores in east Plano. Bring cash – credit cards are not accepted. Service is with a smile, and ingredients are fresh and tasty.

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Barbacoa and pastor tacos at La Paisanita // photos by Jennifer Shertzer

First up is La Paisanita, located inside of Jamal’s Convenience Store at 2901 K Avenue. This place is pretty basic. No sides, just tacos! I tend to judge taco places by their al pastor taco. A ubiquitous specimen in authentic Mexican eateries, it consists of sliced, marinated, spit-roasted pork on a corn tortilla, usually served with onions, cilantro and very hot salsa as condiments. It is simple, and it is delicious.

And the pastor at La Paisanita did not disappoint. The pastor and barbacoa (beef) tacos are served with grilled onions, cilantro and two sauces: the red (hot) salsa, and the green (medium-hot) salsa. I especially dig the green salsa! At about $1.50 each, you can eat your fill without breaking the bank.

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Tacos at La Salsa Verde in east Plano

The next place I visited was La Salsa Verde, located inside the Value Food Store at 3209 K Avenue (SW corner of Parker and K). Here I had the tacos de cachete and the carnitas. The cachete is a very tender shredded pork, while the carnitas are scrumptiously tender chunks of pork. Both are wonderful. La Salsa Verde has only been open about a year, and the folks here are super friendly.

Last, but definitely not least, is Tacos y Tortas el Guero, situated inside the Break Time Shell station (SW corner of Park and Los Rios). Here I went all out and tried the tacos al pastor, the tacos de barbacoa, the tacos de pollo (chicken) and the Toluqueña torta (sandwich).

I whole-heartedly recommend them all, with an especial nod to the Toluqueña torta. This sandwich surprised me. With chorizo, ham and steak, I worried it would be overly meaty and heavy. Instead it was muy grande and sabrosísimo. That’s very big and super tasty! I have since returned again and tried more of their food. This place gets packed at lunch with quite a wait, so it’s a good idea to stop by to dine early or carry out. El Guero recommends you call ahead to order for carry out: (214) 462-8689. The price here is also budget-friendly: A taco plate with 3 tacos, rice and beans is just $5.99.

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Pastor, pollo and barbacoa tacos at El Guero
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The Toluqueño torta at El Guero

If you’re dashing about in east Plano, and you realize it’s lunch time, the folks at these decidedly un-fancy little joints will feed you and have you on your way in a much more savory fashion than what gets passed to you at most drive-through windows. And while these three little gems are run by native Spanish speakers, fear not. Most of the menu items also have the English translation, and these cooks know the English names of their dishes. You order it, and they will make it!

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