Say Hello to Taco Chelo!

The Place: Taco Chelo
The Location: 501 E. Roosevelt Street, Phoenix
The Dishes: Carnitas, Beef Barbacoa & Veggie Tacos, Cheese Quesadilla, El Jardin Salad
By: Laura Stoddard

When a restaurant is named after the chef’s mother, how can you not like it?! Come on. That’s just sweet. In March 2018, Roosevelt Row welcomed it’s newest culinary venture, Taco Chelo, a cool, colorful hangout named for Chef Suny Santana’s mother Consuelo (nickname “Chelo”), who, from a young age, taught him the importance of using quality ingredients and simple cooking techniques. Though only on the scene for a short time, this elevated taqueria has already become a popular neighborhood eatery.

Taco Chelo was a collaboration between Chef Suny, chef and restaurateur Aaron Chamberlin, and internationally recognized artist, Gennaro Garcia, who’s hand painted and hand crafted work you’ll see all over the restaurant, inside and out, and even in the ceramic dinnerware. To say that this place is unique, is an understatement. And, most importantly, the food is worth talking about.

One thing I dug about Taco Chelo’s menu, was that it’s short and sweet–a two-sided one sheet with eats on the front and drinks on the back. I’m one of those people who usually agonizes over what to order, specifically when menus are particularly lengthy, so I saw this one and went, “Whew! Easy. I’ll take that, that and that!” For starters, we started with the chips, guac & salsa ($3.50), and enjoyed looking around a bit while waiting for our fare. We ordered the pint-sized cheese quesadillas ($2.25 each), a variety of tacos, including Beef Barbacoa, Carnitas and Vegetable ($3.00-$3.75), the El Jardin salad ($6.95), and La Pinche strawberry Margs ($6.50).

The standouts for us were the Beef Barbacoa tacos (simple, but exceptionally flavorful) and the El Jardin. That salad–OMG-worthy! A combination of romaine, kale, pepitas, avocado, tortilla strips, Cotija cheese, chile Morita dressing, and queso fresco (with the option to add carne asada or fish), this beautiful creation is fresh, layered with flavors and textures, aesthetically pleasing, and now one of my favorite salads in the whole Valley–and I’ve had a lot of salads.

Our first visit to Taco Chelo was pretty fantastic and we will be back. Hours are Sunday-Thursday, 11 am to 10 pm, and Friday-Saturday, 11 am to 2 am. Check them out the next time you’re in Downtown!

eat | drink | share | taco chelo

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