Anyone who experiences great food at a restaurant can taste the passion and love the owners of that eatery put into their product. That is exactly how the owners of Valerie’s Taco Shop, which opened March 13 at 1130 N. Central Expressway – a space formerly occupied by Schlotzsky’s – feel about their menu.
An ode to its 1997 roots back in San Diego, a city many consider the birthplace of the fish taco, Valerie’s serves mahi mahi tacos (grilled and fried) as well as shrimp, carne asada, al pastor plus special offerings like the El Jefe taco, which features carne asada, bacon, chipotle sauce, cilantro and onions.
“It’s not fast food. It’s food made fresh as fast as we can,” said Mariana Monoya, a representative for the chain. “We’re not trying to compete with anybody because people can choose where they eat. You have to make them feel they’re at home, especially if you’re taking a minute to make their food.”
Customers can order online or stop by for carryout, dine-in or drive-through service. Valerie’s doesn’t yet have a dedicated phone line for the Plano location, but once it does, phone orders will also be accepted. Google reviews so far indicate that drive-through wait times in Plano may be a little longer than average for a quick lunch break while the shop is still in its soft-opening and training phase.
Valerie’s Taco Shop offers elote – the delicious Mexican street corn – and a variety of burritos, quesadillas, chips and fries all made fresh. It also serves a full selection of breakfast tacos and burritos to start your day right. For those who like to sleep in, never fear because Valerie’s serves breakfast all day.
Mariana said despite only recent opening, the feedback the team has already received in person and on social media has been overwhelmingly positive.
“This is new Mexican food, real San Diego food. It’s authentic. Everybody’s been chatting us up,” she said. “They love it and they don’t mind the wait.”
The Plano location is Valerie’s 11th overall and second in North Texas. The Princeton store opened last summer and is a popular spot in that community.
But how did a small chain with nine locations in SoCal end up in the Lone Star State?
“One of our family members moved to McKinney. Then, another sister moved to Princeton,” Mariana said. “They were like, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s no good, normal Mexican food that I’m used to.’”
Among Valerie’s best sellers in Texas thus far are any dishes featuring steak, carnitas (pork) or adobada (marinated meat, usually pork).
Regardless of whether it’s been in its humble roots as a business built from the ground up or what it is today, thriving and with 11 locations in two states, Valerie’s has always been governed by a basic yet effective philosophy.
“When you come love on us, we love on you. You treat the people like you want to be treated; you love them, and you care about your food,” Mariana said. “We don’t need glitz and glam. We don’t need fancy this and that. We just need good food. We cannot give food out that you will not eat or take home to your family.”
Valerie's Taco Shop >
The shop is currently in soft-opening phase, but will transition to permanent hours in the next few weeks. Check Google address below for most updated hours.
1130 N. Central Expressway
Plano, TX 75074