Liberty Park Tacos
900 S and 700 E (this is just the closest intersection near the park, but it’s easy to find)
4 out of 5 stars
It’s been over two months now that I have been hearing reports of a taco stand in Liberty Park. I saw it once and I got excited. I love to go running there and I can’t think of a better idea than devouring a taco on each lap around the park. I saw a stand at the location mentioned once. I almost pulled over, but I didn’t have time that afternoon in January. For weeks as I drove home to sugarhood, I craned my neck to the west side of 700 East hoping that I would see the now mythical taco stand. For weeks my hopes were smashed like watermelons dropped from great heights.
I even tried to visit this stand with Rob Tennant from the City Weekly while he was writing about taco stands. I told him I was pretty sure that the stand would be there. There even was a whiteboard reading “TACOS” with an arrow leading into the park. But no taco stand. I felt embarrassed that I dragged another taco journalist on a dead-end taco adventure.
Then Noyen and I went there, sure to find a taco cart at our destination. But there was nothing there. We even interviewed a City Parks employee who had seen the cart in weeks gone by but had no credible leads as to where to find the taco stand. Things were starting to look dismal. I tried my best to console Noyen but it was difficult when I was distraught myself.
Fast forward to March 18, 2009. A beautiful spring day. I peeked over again while heading down 700 E expecting to see nothing. Instead I saw a taco stand with people around it and smoke coming off of the grill. I instantly called taco enthousiast Carmen and told her that it was time to make a trip to the park.
As we approached the taco stand we were instantly greeted by taco stand owner Ernie (Ernesto). I immediately yelled out “Ay, por fin! Ya hace ocho semanas que intento de encontrar este carrito en este lugar, y por fin estan!“, which translates roughly to “good lord I have been looking for this taco stand for a long time”.
Ernie laughed and explained to me that there was a senora who was running the stand in the same location for a bit of time in January but she didn’t have enough time to run it. This is when Ernie stepped in and purchased the taco cart from the senora. Ernie explained that he has only been running the cart for the last week, but so far business has been good.
At this moment I remembered that I had been conversing en espanol and so I started translating for taco enthousiast Carmen. Immediately after I translated the conversation, Ernie asked us in perfect English what we wanted. We ordered a starting round of 7 tacos (al pastor, lengua, pollo, and asada).
As he made tacos, I asked Ernie where he was from and he started telling us stories of his home town of Guanajuato. I told him that although I had never been to the city I looked forward to visiting it someday. He told us about the mummies in Guanajuato. He told us about the tight and winding streets of the colonial city. In particular there is a street (alleyway) in Guanajuato which is extremely narrow and is named El Callejón del Beso. Legend has it that the street was so narrow that a man and woman fell in love as they lived in second story rooms which faced each other above this alley. The alley was so narrow that they were able to kiss each other from their windows. To read more about the story, click here.
Soon our tacos were ready and we wasted no time tearing through our round 1 of 7 tacos, so we ordered 4 more.
It was hard to stop eating since the prices at the stand are pretty good, and this is another of the best stands that Salt Lake has to offer. Of the tacos we tried, I enjoyed the lengua most. The meat was good quality and I think Carmen also enjoyed one without knowing what she was eating. The al pastor was also very delicious. This is another example of a better pastor than I’ve ever had around the Sears Corner area.
I submit that there is not a better backdrop for a street taco than in Liberty Park. It’s a nice change to be able to sit on a park bench and enjoy a no-effort taco picnic while park goers pass by. I think that we need to somehow build up a taco challenge which consists of doing laps and eating tacos. Is anyone up to trying to eat one taco each lap while running laps around the park? 27 laps = 27 tacos. Seth? Are you up to it? I’m sure it would have to be easier than this challenge. Wouldn’t each taco be converted into pure energy by the time you come around again? I’m no doctor but I’d be willing to bet that this is the case.
So go say hi to Ernie. He’s an incredibly nice guy. He says that now that he has been open for a week, he will try to be open from around noon until 8:30pm or as long as there is demand at night. Also check out his store La Perla Market on 567 E 600 S. They offer fresh meats and vegetables which almost certainly the product used at the taco stand.
It’s possible you’ll see me too. I told Ernie that he and I were destined to become amigos since now I have a taco cart on my biking\automobiling route to and from work.
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I will gladly eat a taco or two while watching you run laps. I will likely even shout words of enthusiastic encouragement as you pass by.