Torchy’s Tacos is starting to become a popular chain across the US with locations predominantly throughout the Midwest and South. I’ve eaten at several locations across Texas and Oklahoma and enjoyed their tacos long before their widespread success. I first had Torchy’s many years ago in Austin and then again in Tulsa, OK when they opened one of their first locations outside of Texas. Both of these were incredible experiences – delicious queso and fresh, fun tacos. Their menu features some interesting combinations like The Trailer Park with fried chicken, the Brushfire with jamaican chicken, or the Republican with jalapeno cheddar sausage. So you can probably guess that I was super excited when they opened a location in OKC and it was always on my list to eat at when I went to visit.
My first time visiting and trying the OKC location, I was stoked and couldn’t wait. To my surprise, the food was not what I remembered. Perhaps the hype in my head was too strong or my memory and expectations weren’t aligned. I ordered the Democrat which comes with barbacoa, avocado, cotija and diced onions on a corn tortilla. A pretty basic, classic taco. I also ordered the Avocado Taco which comes with fried avocados, pinto beans, cheese, pico and lettuce on a corn tortilla. The Avocado taco was fine, nothing special. But the Democrat was horrendous. The meat still had large chunks of fat and there was so much oil that soaked through to the tortilla that it was practically inedible. It was the worst experience I have had at a Torchy’s and to give them the benefit of doubt, I chalked it up to them being new and still needing to figure everything out. To continue this saga, since moving back to OKC I have given Torchy’s two more chances (both at different locations). I was hesitant to give them another try, but was out and about and needed food, so I stopped at a location in Edmond, OK. To keep it simple I ordered the Democrat and Baja Shrimp. Although the kitchen was extremely slow, despite not being busy, the tacos were absolutely delicious. The barbacoa on the democrat was cooked well and was crispy on the edges (which is how it should be – you want to cook the shit out of it so the fat gets caramelized and crispy versus soft and clumpy – no one wants to just eat straight fat like that). The Baja shrimp was just as tasty with perfectly crispy shrimp, pickled veggies and a chipotle sauce on top. At this point I was really stoked that I could replace that horrible memory of Torchy’s with a much more pleasant experience. We aren’t done yet though – my friend asked me to dinner and we decided on Torchy’s (the first OKC location that I mentioned above) and I agreed since my latest experience was so great. I ordered a Democrat (can you tell it is my favorite?) and a Trailer Park. Once again, this fell short of the mark. The trailer park was fine – but nothing spectacular. But that Democrat….again it had undercooked fat and had so much oil that it completely soaked through the tortilla and paper and was all over the basket. It was again, so inedible I ended up just throwing it away. No one wants a chunk of fat and so much oil it leaves a residue when they are eating a taco.