Counter Culture: Taco Trucks

A gringo’s map to the real food trucks of Indianapolis.

Real taco trucks do not have Twitter accounts. They don’t attend food-truck festivals, charge more than $2 per taco, or shadow the 9-to-5 crowd and Broad Ripple partiers. Which is why you didn’t know that Indy has real taco trucks. They’re all on Washington Street, and you have to go to them, each a no-frills wagon parking in the same rutted lot every day, usually from 11 a.m. or noon until around midnight. The menus posted on the side of the truck stick to the street-food standards—tacos, tortas, and quesadillas in variations of asada, pastor, pollo, lengua, cabeza, and chorizo; maybe some nachos and burritos, and the odd loaded fries or beans-and-rice special. The best of the bunch, El Taco Veloz (2475 W. Washington St.), has been around the longest—five years—and makes good on its name (“fast taco”). Go with the pastor, seasoned pork roasted in the truck on a vertical spit (as it should be, but rarely is in Indy) and served with a spicy, smoky salsa made from five chiles—or five something. We could have pressed the owner for clarification, but it’s not that kind of place. It’s the kind of place where you pay $1.65 for each palm-sized, double–corn-tortilla taco and scoot your white plastic plate and Styrofoam cup of crisp cucumber water down to the end of the counter and eat standing up, trying to chat with the husband-and-wife owners in Spanish before finally ordering dos mas. Other taco trucks on Washington: Taqueria Morales (2200 E. Washington St.), tacos $2 each, huge quesadillas $5 each, a little on the greasy side; Taqueria El Bohemio (4002 E. Washington St.), tacos $1.75 each, deadly hot habanero salsa, cheese between the double layer of corn tortillas; and Tacos al Carbon (on East Washington Street about halfway between I-465 and Washington Square Mall), tacos $1.75 each, expansive menu, a rare greaseless chorizo taco. Take cash.

Photo by Tony Valainis.

This article originally appeared in the July 2012 issue.