Wednesday, November 28

Update (Finally!): Chuco's VS Chico's Smackdown 2007!!!


Chuco's Tacos

UPDATE: The Screaming Goat (née Chuco's) has closed :(

Okay, so I'm just getting some time to write about the INFAMOUS ROLLED TACO CONTROVERSY and by infamous it only applies to me and the six people that blogged or emailed me. When I showed up with my Hands On posse, the EPT contingency and the hard working tacojournalism bloggers, I was pretty impressed with the place itself. Chuco's is in an old little casita with clean floors (that's always a plus) and vintage Mexican cinema plaques on the wall. I do love my Pedro Infante homages!

I introduced myself to the owner, David but I didn't think I had to since I was sportin' my Chico's Tacos shirt (a true testament of a die hard fan!). He was very nice and so was his staff (could it be because they knew I was coming???). Everyone ordered the Chuco's Tacos (y'know the ones that look like Chico's!) as well as queso, soft tacos, & quesadillas.

I gotta say.....you ready for this......Chuco's Tacos delivers (yeah, I said it!). I think it was the mix of the El Paso feel, the memories of Chico's, the good flavors and the attentiveness of Chuco's staff. The tacos were good. They were bigger than Chico's and had a homestyle and authentic flavor to them. The salsa's were good too. They have six to choose from. David mentioned that he got the recipes from his Tia's so that gives him some street cred. He also kept saying that they're not trying to be like Chico's (minus the rolled tacos) and offer a mix of Mexican food (not to be confused with Tex-Mex). The chicken quesadillas adobadas had a good smokey flavor and I'm not the only one that liked them.....Jarod also liked the beans, Diana liked the queso and everyone gave it one to two thumbs up.


Chico's..er..Chuco's Tacos

Don't get me wrong, I still love Chico's and will always go back to the original. It is nice that we have a little taste of EPT in the ATX now.


(Los Manayers at Chuco's Tacos: Emilio Medrano & Rick Galaviz)

I plan to make more visits to Chuco's Tacos not only for the EPT flavor but I hear that they have a Burger Happy Hour and Mexican beers for a buck fitty!
So what do you think? Am I on target or did they romanticize me with their EPT memories?

Chuco's Tacos - 4 estellas - El Mundo de Mando
900 W 10th St
Austin, TX 78703
(512) 476-8226

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(L2R: Taco Mascots: Chuco's Tacos & Chico's Tacos)


In one corner, we have a new Austin establishment: Chuco's Tacos and in the other corner, we have a long established EPT hometown favorite: Chico's Tacos.

Now I am a big fan of Chico's and when I heard about a new place in Austin that had a similar ring to it, I had to do some investigatory work. Naturally, I google-ized them and found their website and myspace page. (By the way, when you google Chuco's Tacos, the google-meter asks you "did you mean Chico's Tacos?" Aha!

Interestingly enough, I found that they have smilar tacos as Chico's does; smallish and rolled with a runny sauce. I also noticed a similarity in their Taco Mascots (see above). Otra vez...hmmm....

My deep taco investigation lead me to David from Chuco's. We bantered back and forth, had to take breaks, ate some tacos and finally finished our email discussion after 4.5 minutes. He stated his case (pretty firm but the jury's still out) and offered me a taste of Chuco's Tacos. I, of course, being of sound mind and body and round belly-like, accepted his offer.

So it's on! Jarod and I, among others are going to Chuco's Tacos on Tuesday. I'll be wearing my famed Chico's Tacos shirt proudly and we'll see who comes out ahead.

Stay tuned for Chuco's VS Chico's Smackdown 2007!

El Mundo de Mando

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello there, i just read ur blog! To be honest I am excited to have this type of establishment in Austin. It's something that Austin needs! I have tasted the food and it's pretty good!..I have never eaten Chico's tacos but I think it is funny that they are being compared too. More interest to eat at Chuco's. So let us know how Tuesday goes..best of luck!

El Mundo De Mando said...

Thanks! You should join us on Tuesday. I'll be there at 11:30am with my Chico's Tacos shirt!

Mando

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the offer! I will try and make it! If I do go, I will make sure to say "hello", now that I know what you look like!!

Victor said...

I went there today and was surprised at how good it was. I guess I was expecting the mouse droppings in the sauce like the Chico's Tacos in EP. Seriously though, it's in one of those house-turned-restaurant places you see all over Austin, which made it a lot cooler. Also, there's a huge UTEP flag on the wall with all of the EP high schools listed around it. Brings back memories.

gg said...

i wasnt impressed.. bland chicken burrito.. the chuco tacos were ok. though lacking on the sabor as well..

Anonymous said...

Well? What was your final word? My sister and I both agreed we wouldn't go until you gave Chuco's the blessing. I'm an El Paso Chico's loyalist!

R Ruiz said...

I grew up in EP and would drive from the west side to the place on Montana (my favorite of all the Chicos). My family and I eat there every time we go back. I will go to Chucos as soon as I can and have told my sister in Denton to come down and join me. I hope they have a jukebox that plays way too loud music so it really feels like home!

Anonymous said...

This place is nothing like the real Chico's Tacos. The meat is filled with onions and the sauce was half tomato, half grease. I am very disappointed because I really thought this place had a chance. The search for REAL El Paso food continues.

Vanessa said...

I heard about Chuco's and can't wait to try it! I do miss EP food and hope this reminds me of home.

JustMe said...

Upon hearing of the Chico's style tacos at Chuco's, I knew I had to try them, I figured it can't be worse than the 9 hour drive to get the real thing. When I got there, I really didn't have my hopes high of it being the same as El Paso and it wasn't, BUT, it was good! No, it wasn't the exact same product, but unless you are in El Paso, you aren't going to get it. The restaurant itself was charming and had plasma TVs with the NFL network on. The staff was attentive and I have begun to spread the word that it is a place worth visiting.

brightmonkey said...

I'm from El Paso and heard about this place so of course I had to try it out. The tacos were very good, but not as good as Chico's. An order of six rolled tacos at Chuco's costs almost twice as much as the same order at Chicos...even though the tacos at Chuco's are bigger, it still seemed rather pricey. Despite the sticker shock, I do plan on going back again.

Anonymous said...

i seriously think that most of chuco's appeal stems from the love that el pasoans have for their town and one of its loved establishments. in other words, i think it's the romanticized concept that does the trick here.

i went to chuco's last week and had a taco of chicken adobada and a steak taco accompanied by beans and rice. my honest take on their food: the steak had a nasty taste to it, the steak's marinade had way too much vinegar in it so i couldn't taste much else. the corn tortillas were a bit cold. the chicken tacos were ok, not good, not bad. the salsa (very hot one) was good, lots of pepper not a lot of tomato. as i grew up in mexico, i love my salsas to be hot!! so that was a plus.

now, the beans, oh my goodness...i have no idea how jarod liked the beans. they were straight up nasty, runny, canned beans. i'm not sure who jarod is, but something tells me he is not mexican or did not grow up around real mexican food...commercial tex-mex at best. so, i respectfully but strongly disagree with jarod on the beans. oh, the rice was bland, but not bad.

my boyfriend had the chuco's (chico's) tacos. they were actually good in a tex-mex kinda way (lots of yellow cheese and seasoned ground meat in a thin tomato sauce). if you like chico's tacos...i think you'll like chuco's rolled tacos as well.

all in all..the place is nice, the staff friendly and attentive, but being a real mexican food-lover, i'm not planning on going back.

Chuco's Tacos said...

Where should I start....? Chuco's Tacos is an authentic fast casual Mexican restaurant. Meaning its not your normal sit down type, its quick service. All of the recipes come from Mexico and prepared fresh daily. I can promise you that canned beans have never been used nor will they ever. This restaurant is not Chico's nor does it want to be. There is one similar item on the menu, other than that it is completely different. Competition is everywhere. Mc Donald’s and Burger King, Church's and Kentucky fried chicken, Chipotle and Freebirds. They are all alike in that it’s the same type of food being burgers, chicken or burritos but that’s it. Some people like one and not the other. One thing you should know is Chuco's reads these blogs on a daily basis. By reading these, we see where we can improve. So thank you all and know we respect your opinions and greatly appreciate all your feedback.

Thank you,
Chuco's Tacos
900 W.10th St.
Austin, Tx 78703

www.chucostacos.com
myspace.com/chucostacos

Rogelio said...

Hey Chuco's - Your name shows disrespect to la raza. Show me a pachuco at your place. You have no right to denigrate us like that.

Chuco's Tacos said...

Our name is a nickname for El Paso. We have plenty of raza working here, even the owners.

Rogelio said...

El Chuco ! Slang term showing disrespect.

Araceli said...

Freebirds, Chipotle Wannabees ! Where is the sabor de la frontera, hermanos ? Get your abuelitas into the kitchen to put something special into the recipes.....

Mushy tex mex...... big disappointment...

Justme said...

Rogelio, are you from El Paso? If not, then you wouldn't understand "Chuco's", it is an El Paso thing! Get off it!

Chilango said...

Hey Araceli, from what I gather, the name is Chuco's Tacos, not Chuco's Burritos. A burrito from Chuco's is what a burrito from Mexico tastes like. Have you ever eaten a burrito in Mexico? Chuco's Tacos is a Mexican food restaurant, not Tex-Mex. How many Tex-Mex joints sell Tortas in Austin. I can count them with one hand.

Chico's Chica! said...

Chuco's, you don't want to be Chico's? Well, okay....but could you make your tacos like theirs? For us misplaced El Pasoan's? My sister and I are hitting your place this weekend and will keep an open mind.....simply because we REALLY REALLY want to like it! As of right now, the only real Mexican food you can find in Austin is at my Mama's house!
I am in agreement about the jukebox......I miss that damn thing being WAY too loud and playing nothing but 80's hairbands! (oooops, showing my age)

Ludivina said...

Chuco's Tacos - Chico's Tacos, I get the connection. Maybe you should change the name to "Tacos Del Chuco" if it's the El Paso feel you want and not being a Chico's Tacos ripoff !!!

Anonymous said...

Chilango:

Chuco's is as close to being real Mexican food as Bush is to being an orator...

No ifs ands or buts, that food is Tex-Mex. Seriously, you just insulted great Mexican cooks everywhere with that comparison.

And don't ask if I've had a burrito from Mexico....I lived there for 22 out of my 27 yrs of life.

doug said...

There are a few similarities to Chico's like the name and the rolled taco's, but the similarities end there.

The tacos are bigger and you still get the Gov't cheese. This place is cool...it's got HDTV's tuned to sports, a UTEP flag hanging on the wall, they serve beer and there is a cute Brit chick working the register. Oh, and this place is clean, unlike Chico's. The British girl told me 80% of the clientele is from EP.

I got a single which runs $2.55. I also got a burger and a drink and my total came out to a little over $7. More expensive than Chico's but what do you expect? This is Austin where everything is more expensive.

And for those of you bitching, it's not true interior Mexican so if you want true Mexican, hit the east side, or open up your own joint. I like this place...

doug said...

Okay, I'll admit there are a few similarities to Chico's like the name and the rolled tacos, but that's about it.

This place is cool. It's in a hip neighborhood, it's got HDTV's tuned to sports, a UTEP flag on the wall, they serve beer and there is a cute Brit chick working the counter. Oh, and unlike Chico's, this place is clean.

The British girl told me that about 80% of the clientele is from El Paso.

The rolled taco's are good. They come in a mild tomato sauce and you get the Gov't cheese and the green sauce is hotter than Chico's. They put it on top for you. I wish I could get it on the side...next time I'll ask. A single is $2.55.

I got a hamburger and a drink as well and the total was a little over $7. More expensive than Chico's but hell, this is Austin. What do you expect?

No, it isn't real Mexican, but it's not supposed to be. For those of you bitching, go to the East Side if you want real Mexican or open up your own joint. I dig this place...

Chico's Chica said...

I love how passionate everyone is about this. It just means we know what we like and those of us from El Paso know Mexican food...or rather, New Texican food as opposed to Tex-Mex. What can I say, El Paso is more New Mexico than Texas. It's just going to be different.

letty said...

Just came back from El Paso. Arrived last Wednesday. The first thing we did at 11:30 p.m was drive straight to Chico's on McCrae for a double, with extra cheese and plenty of their green salsa. It was great! What was especially humorous is that they now sell t-shirts and mugs. FYI-a great place that sells really great Chile colorado and chile verde burritos is Valentine's on Yarbrough in EP. I will pay Chuco's a visit sometime this week.

Texas Exer said...

I live up in the DC now, but grew up in the EPT and went to school in the ATX. This is the greatest blog post I've ever read. I miss both EPT and the ATX so much. I've never been to Chuco's, but will give it a try next time I visit Auztown.

Chico's Chica said...

Well, I went, I saw, and I ate. While I will go back for the rolled tacos (only because it's the closest thing you'll find to Chico's here), I was disappointed overall. I just can't help thinking that two El Paso boys couldn't come up with spicier food!

Anonymous said...

Stopped by one Sunday before Christmas because our usual joint was closed for a employee party. Ordered a couple Adobado Chicken tacos, one steak taco. These things were inedible. The chicken was a dry as styrofoam. I was starving from just having run and wasn't feeling too picky but still the only way I could eat this was by smothering it in salsa. The beef was tough and stringy. I mean this was really bad.

El Mundo De Mando said...

Hey El Paso Peeps. Estan envitados to the El Paso Social for the New Year!

Thursday, January 10, 2008
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Copa Bar & Grill
Appetizers & Door Prizes. Cash Bar!

Here's the link to the evite:http://www.evite.com/pages/invite/viewInvite.jsp?inviteId=UGDIQSTKZPXMJLAIOLPW&li=iq&src=email&trk=aei6

Or or or you can email me for details.

Ay nos vemos,
El Mundo de Mando
armandorayo@gmail.com

Frank said...

No they don't taste like Chico's Tacos, but I will welcome it into the main arteries of my heart. I usually order two singles and I did notice that they were a bit bigger than Chico's so I don't mind paying a little more. The sauce looked kinda greasy and the cheese tasted kinda grainy. Order of fries was more than enough... not those Ore Ida fries back home, haha. I also wish the green salsa were spicier. I liked how I can refill my sprite as often as i want. To make a long story short, I'll give the tacos a 6.5/10. I've yet to try the rest of the menu. Maybe this weekend.

Stephen said...

I love this place. I'm with you! Chico's will always have a place in my heart, but Chuco's is awesome. And dare I say it? - It tastes better.

cabeza be taco said...

never been to chicos, but I thought this place basically sucked/ the chuco tacos were bland and soggy. atmosphere was OK, if a bit claustrophobic.

to each his pwn.

-cabeza

Anonymous said...

No Stephen.....you may not say that. :-)

Anonymous said...

I finally got around to trying out Chuco's tacos this past weekend while visiting friends in San Antonio. Overall, I have to say that Chuco's is a good substitute for Chico's if you can't make the 8 hr drive to EP. Otherwise, if you are a die hard Chico's fan, this doesn't come close to Chico's.

Anonymous said...

I grew up on chicos. I say that with a sincere love for the chain. But after having gone to Chucos this past semester every week, I am at a crossroads. I say this in that i never thought i ever could. ahem. CHUCOS IS BETTER. Their take on the rolled taco feels individually made and feels more like 'mother's cooking'. The management are a great set of people who get to know you and what you like to order. In fact, as a regular, you are recognized and given freebies. That has either been in the form of free fries (with are soooo good) to free fried cheesecake/sopapias/churos. You may scoff at my assertion, but after you've had a bucket of Shiners with buddies as you watch the NCCAA tournament (on their HD tv sets) as you eat great food... you too will be a believer. Im spreading the gospel

Anonymous said...

Hi! I was sooo happy to find you the other day. I walked in and looked at the menu expecting to see "singles" or "doubles", but juicy tacos are just as cute, i was all smiles looking at that menu! I sat down looking around and kinda felt out of place. Good looking, important people in this place, and me some short small girl looking for juicy tacos. The tacos were awesome, although i didn't know if I was eating a garnish with that bright green sauce. All in all "Estaban para chuparte los dedos!"...And the buss boys were CUTE too! :) Thanks for being so friendly!

Serg in Big D said...

FYI-This guy is getting sued by the Mora Family for infringement.

Here's the story:

http://www.kvia.com/global/story.asp?s=8303196

Niki said...

THERE'S A NEW PETITION TO BRING A CHICO'S TO AUSTIN!!!

SIGN IT!

http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/BringaChicosToAustin

Anonymous said...

Hey Serg in Big D! Are you the Gonzo-Serg???? Anyway, so, is Chuco's in Austin closed for business? Also, I have to say that once again I feel like the kid in the Emperor's New Clothes... really people... the food at Chico's Tacos is toxic! It is really, really bad. Just go and check out the people who eat there... either stoners or over weight people. It is really not good food.

Bobby Martinez said...

Of course it's bad. It greasy ass fried rolled tacos with mop water and gov't cheese. But we eat it anyways! Also, the hot dog wieners from Chicos look like they could cause super-cancer five times over.

Don't get me wrong, I love Chico's, just like I love El Paso, but I love Austin just like I love Chuco's.

They aren't the same, and they aren't meant to be the same. So what if they serve a similar menu item, they totally make it their own. They use better ingredients. That cheese might seem grainy because it's ACTUAL CHEESE. I like the chico's gov't cheese, but I won't knock Chuco's for using actual cheese. If you're looking for a Chico's rip-off go elsewhere. This restaurant has taken the simple concept of one dish, our love for said dining establishment, and made it their own. We have our own identity. I'm proud to be from El Paso, but I'm also proud to be currently living in Austin. Us displaced El Pasoans have our own unique sense of identity whether we know it or now, and I think Chuco's gets the right idea. We took an El Paso concept and re-invented it with a twist of Austin. I'm really, really sad Chico's made them change their name to 10th Street Tacos, because the place was a total homage to El Paso! It's like a slap to the face from an old friend.

Anyways, I will continue to patronize Chuco's, and hopefully they will continue serving good food at reasonable prices. (Maybe one day they'll open one close to Parmer so I don't have to drive all the way down :-/ )

Anonymous said...

if youre that disappointed, google a chicos tacos recipe online.. its not perfect but itll satisfy your craving. when i lived in atx id make it.. a pain in the ass, but its worth it.

Anonymous said...

10th St tacos is way better than their plaintiff's. Quality of ingredients, Service, Not having someone bark your number in Spanish then broken english over an over powered Public Address system, that crackled lots. Anyone know an estimated time that they will reopen. Or did the Mora's get them shut down. That would be sad.

MsBeanMSSW said...

so what happened to the chüco's tacos people/recipes/food now?

Anonymous said...

I'm happy to say that I'm currently eating a paper dish full of flautas adobado from what used to be Chuco's/10th Street Tacos and is now called The Screaming Goat. Not sure if it's new management or what, but it sure tastes the same.

Chico'sgirl said...

This has become one of my favorite places in Austin to eat....I even took my parents (think El Paso, old school) and THEY liked it! Aside from the flautas ahogadas which I constantly CRAVE, the staff is wonderful! They're friendly, helpful, and attentive, without hovering......I love those guys!

Dante said...

I was born and raised in El Paso, TX and of course ate Chico’s Tacos, regularly; during my early years and up to this present day (only when I visit El Paso of course). I relocated from El Paso, TX to Austin, TX in 1999. Almost immediately, after arriving to Austin, I craved for Chico's Tacos. So, thereafter, I made numerous attempts to create a similar recipe in order to satisfy my cravings. Anyway, I recently discovered Chuco's Tacos had a similar dish so, I paid them a visit and ordered their tacos and to my disappointment it did not taste like Chico’s Tacos. However, Chuco’s tacos were delicious but in a different taste. Here’s my recipe: http://www.reviewthishere.com/chicos-tacos-locations-and-recipe

BigAl said...

Of course, this is Screaming Goat now. So far, SG comes the closest to southern California style carne asada. Other places in Austin have carne asada but the difference is the marinade. One of my all time s. calif favs is a carne asada burrito with guacamole. I’m going back to SG to see if they can make it that way or at least a taco with just those two ingredients. Also had the fish taco and the flautas in sauce, both good. SG has some great daily specials too, will def go back.

Anonymous said...

Hi just commenting on the tacos. i havent gone chuco's but ive been to chico in ept and i live in sat. And i recently had some brought back from ept by my visiting mother-in-law. And i got to tell its got to be an El Paso thing because i dont see how they are all the rage. there ok, I guess. But to me it just a nock off of what real mexican food is. It totally amaricanized. i dont see that combination of foods being mixed together. Any one can make this dish and have it taste the same or even better. But thats just how i feel so this comment does not require a reply. thanx for listening and will never return. Man, i'm glad i got that off my chest!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

update this it is now called the screaming goat and i have never had good tacos here

BigAl said...

went back and they made me a carne asada taco with guac-perfect!

RE the anon post above: wow, a classic example of different tastes.

Jack Nowicki said...

I have been outa the loop for a year or so...

So what ever happened to Chuco's?

I just recently heard a fellow El Pasoan mention Chicos and I mentioned Cuccos and he said they aren't around anymore.

That true?