MINNEAPOLIS -- An authentic and award-winning taste of Mexico is starting to find its footing in the Twin Cities. Beyond serving people delicious food, the owner is ensuring everyone from customers to nonprofits feel their support with every purchase.
Tacos Tacos Tacos. It's not just what's on the menu at the new spot along West 7th Street in St. Paul. It's literally the name of the place, a celebration of a simple yet foodie favorite that owner and chef Robert Giuliani wants people to enjoy. And to understand the same way he did growing up.
"Just like in Mexico, you see the food being made in front of you," Giuliani said. "What we really do is focus on the traditional taqueria items and make them well."
Giuliani describes his dishes as using two tortillas -- corn tortillas, specifically -- followed by your choice of meat, like suadero, a slow-cooked beef, or the famous al pastor, which is marinated pork cooked to a glistening bronze on a spit.
"We don't have chicken or fish; we really focus on pork and beef and that's what they do at taquerias," he said.
Then comes the diced onions, cilantro, cucumbers, radishes, limes, and salsas, which are made fresh daily. It all happens in a kitchen designed so customers can watch the flavorful ingredients come together.
Giuliani frequently references the true taqueria experience, as in what it would feel like to order tacos in Mexico. He lived it many times as a child visiting the country with his mother, but took it an incredible step further in 2020. By his estimates, he's been to over 250 taquerias, each time learning a little bit more about how tacos are made in different regions of Mexico.
Guiliani was inspired to bring that flavor and experience back to Minnesota.
"We kept it authentic. It takes a little bit more preparation to do it the right way, but I think that we have a great product and it's worth it," he said.
His customers quickly agreed. Their first location was in Duluth, and in under a year, the Minneapolis Star Tribune readers voted it one of the best taco and Mexican restaurants in the state. In March, those award-winning tacos made it to St. Paul, where it's about more than just the food.
"I really wanted to have the ability of owning a business where I could make a difference," Giuliani said.
It starts with Care to Share a Taco. Customers buy a taco, the restaurant matches it, and the ticket for both is displayed at the register, allowing anyone to redeem it for free.
"We had a lot of families come in with kids, and that's really something that I really want to support," Giuliani said. "And I think when people walk away, they walk away with more knowledge about what real Mexican food is."
In addition to the Care to Share a Taco program, the restaurant also features a nonprofit of the month, in which a portion of their sales is donated to a local organization.
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