At what point do we reach peak taco? Greenville currently has two Local Taco locations, Gringo’s, the newly opened Cantina 76, the Automatic Taco food truck (who are also looking for a brick and mortar space), Willy Taco is renovating and building to open in the old Feed and Seed, White Duck Taco just announced that they’re opening in Hampton Station, and I’m sure there’s one or two I’m forgetting. This doesn’t take into account places like Asada, Chicora Alley, Universal Joint, or any of the restaurants that have tacos on the menu but aren’t taco centric. There’s a ton of traditional Mexican places as well. So how do you distinguish yourself from everyone else in this crowded environment?
Tipsy Taco opened in June of this year within the Publix Shopping Center on Pelham Road. The vibe and decor of their space gives a laid back, fun, and off-beat atmosphere. There are hot sauces, sugar skulls, bright colors, photographs of Mexico, Spanish Mission-style trinkets, all around an S-shaped bar. This could have looked like a hodgepodge of styles and colors. Whoever decorated the restaurant had a deft touch and turned what could have been tacky into a cohesive design that only furthers the Tipsy Taco brand. Tipsy Taco recently expanded to add another area for more guests and lots of TVs just in time for football season.
We were seated at a high top near the bar. The room was dim, but not so much that you couldn’t see your menu. Having not been since the expansion into the other room, I would suspect a little more light might be let in now. The restaurant had a buzz about it, but wasn’t overly loud. We ordered our meal, as well as chips and queso. If you order the queso, make sure you get it spicy with the grilled jalapenos in it. There’s not much heat, but they add a bit of flavor and smokiness to the queso. There’s also a variety of hot sauces on the table, ranging in heats and flavors. None were spicy to the extreme, but all packed some punch.
The tacos I ordered were the Black ‘N’ Blue, Baja Shrimp, and Street Taco. My wife ordered the Bang Bang Shrimp and Drunken Piggy tacos. My favorite of them all was the Drunken Piggy. It had a great flavor and mouthfeel. My least favorite was the Black ‘N’ Blue. Usually a Black and Blue is made with steak, but this had chicken. The thing that threw me off about this taco was that the blue cheese crema tasted more like a vinaigrette and had no real creaminess, which the taco desperately needed due to the chicken sucking up all the moisture. All in all, their tacos were fresh and tasty. I do wish they had a taco basket combo of some sort, but the various pricing of the tacos could make this cumbersome.
So how is Tipsy Taco going to stand out among all of its competitors? I think they have done a disservice to themselves by putting taco in their name. Their menu runs the gamut of Mexican cuisine and probably deserves equal billing with the tacos. Even their brunch strays from the normal Mexican brunch with stuffed french toast, a bacon wrapped filet with eggs, and a jalapeno cheddar biscuit with fried chicken and tomato gravy. They feature over 60 different kinds of tequila and encompass this all in a fun, off-kilter atmosphere. It also helps that the space they moved into was in an area that needed a different type of restaurant that could easily become a neighborhood hangout. Tipsy Taco already stands out and should continue to do so.
215 Pelham Road
Greenville, SC 29615
Tacos: $2.75-7.50 each
Other Entrees: $8 – $18