Recently, we had a chance to experience the “Taste of Central” festival in downtown Kansas City, Kansas. This event offered participants an opportunity to sample dishes from a variety of restaurants that they may overlook on a regular basis. We have to admit that we are just as guilty as others of forgetting to showcase the cuisines found in our own hometown. While we still want to spread the love around our metro, we know that we need to remember the backyard dining options we have right here in KCK.

The interior of Tacos El Tio is a small but popular place with the locals.

Testing Tacos El Tio

With a long list of Mexican cuisine options, we made our way toward downtown. There are a high concentration of restaurants near the Central Avenue corridor, so finding backyard dining options is fairly simple. This visit we chose Tacos El Tio, which is located at 78 N. 10th Street. Just a few blocks north of Central Avenue, the small eatery was easily identified, as we approached from the south. Inside, we found that they have enough seating for around 30 people. They also do a good amount of carry-out business, as was apparent from the steady stream of customers at the counter. While some people may feel out of place, I have gotten used to the odd looks that taking photos can elicit from others. I think most are just curious where the photos will end up being published.

Backyard dining, in KCK, can include some delicious Mexican Street Tacos.

Mexican Street Tacos

We found a table and our server arrived almost immediately. After reviewing the simple menu, we decided to sample a few of the more recognizable dishes. Obviously, we had to test out the Street Tacos. Tacos El Tio offers around nine different meat choices to spice up the taco options. We chose chicken, beef, and pork for our trio. The tacos are simple, yet flavorful. Topped with onion and cilantro, the spices in the meats are the real stars. After squeezing a little lime on them, we gobbled these down in a few bites. Each meat choice has its own highlights, and all tasted good. On a return visit, we would probably sample a few more of the options.

A couple of the handheld options available at Tacos El Tio in downtown Kansas City, Kansas

More Handheld Options

The street tacos had only whetted our appetites, so it was time to sample a couple other dishes. A Steak Quesadilla was cooked up with a crisp shell, which made it easy to handle.  The flavor was delectable, and ended up being the favorite for both of us. We also selected a Chicken Burrito, which is quite a handful. Packed with rice, lettuce, and plenty of flavorful chicken, it pushed our food intake to the point that we couldn’t finish. Our server had included three sauce choices, which escalated in heat from mild to Wow! The mild version is an avocado based sauce, which ended up being my favorite. While it had some heat, it was easy to balance with the meats.

the authors pose after some backyard dining at Tacos El Tio.

Backyard Dining at Tacos El Tio

Our backyard dining at Tacos El Tio was certainly filling. For just around $20.00, we had more than we could eat. Of course, we rarely take home leftovers, since we never know when we will make it home. Dining here had reminded us just how much we love our hometown cuisine, and renewed our commitment to showcasing more local restaurants. This choice had been a suggestion from one of our local neighborhood leaders. (Thanks, Edgar!) We will certainly be traveling around the metro, (Here’s our last KCMO taco joint) but would love to hear some of your favorite KCK dining choices. It would be great to show a little love to more backyard dining spots. Drop us a name or two in the comments section below.

the authors signatures.

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