If you find yourself contemplating a visit to Kansas City, may I suggest you spend some quality on the Kansas side? Locally known as “KCK,” it is a city with a genuine community feel and some of the best tacos you’ll find in the U.S.A.
With so many local taquerias, the local visitor’s bureau introduced the KCK Taco Trail, a map and listing of over fifty restaurants based in KCK serving up tacos and other dishes with a Kansas City, Kansas zip code.
The idea is genius, as the more restaurants you check into, the more prizes you can receive. From stickers, locally produced salsa, and t-shirts, there is an incentive to eat the tacos, but supporting the local restaurants and community is what stands out.
To join the taco trail, log onto the Visit KCK taco trail page and sign up. The webpage can download an app on your phone, making it easy to check into the various locations. Once you hit five spots, you’ll get a notification you’ve earned the first prize, a mas taco sticker. Make it to all fifty, and you’ll get a KCK taco trail flag. Visitors have until October 31, 2021, to grab prizes, but the list of restaurants will remain available after this time.
From tacos to tortas, it has been incredible to realize how many locally-owned restaurants I can support. The food is tasty, but the true gems might be the staff and owners welcoming you into their restaurants. All the restaurants have been excellent but let’s dive into my top seven places.
Visiting other destinations in Kansas? Check out our other delicious guides:
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The 8 Best Restaurants On The KCK Taco Trail
903 N. 7th St. Trfy // +19133424333
El Camino Real was the first stop for me on the KCK Taco Trail, and it did not disappoint. Pork al pastor marinates on a spit visible to see in the open kitchen format.
Al pastor is like lamb shawarma, with some thinking the cooking method was brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants. The meat is thinly sliced and added to the fresh tortilla along with some grilled pineapple.
The slow cooking method of the spit creates a slice of tender meat that is full of flavor. Onions and cilantro are offered on the side and will add flavor to your taco. In addition, the restaurant provides salsas of varying spice levels.
El Camino Real has two locations, and both of them are part of the KCK taco trail.
210 S. 7th St. // +19135628264
GG’s is one of the only restaurants on the KCK taco trail that does not have indoor seating; however, there are some outside benches where you can enjoy your meal or get carry out and find one of the nearby parks to munch on tacos.
GG’s is open for breakfast, and it was a nice change-up from grabbing lunch or dinner. I went for the huevos rancheros, and it did not disappoint.
The dish comprises warm tortillas wrapped in foil and over-medium eggs packaged in a to-go box. With some grilled vegetables and refried beans, you can make your breakfast tacos.
The GG’s menu is extensive, so if breakfast doesn’t work out, you can enjoy tacos, tortas, and a variety of other Mexican dishes. Also, GG’s offers online ordering, and I saw many cars pull up and get their to-go order. A great option if the weather is being a little finicky in KCK.
1706 Central Ave. // +19133215300
Taqueria 7 Leguas quickly became a family favorite on the KCK taco trail with its friendly staff and top-notch tortas. The space is small, so you might need to claim multiple tables if you have over four people. You’ll find a TV going and some locals watching the latest soccer game creating a fun environment.
The menu is extensive, but their torta is what I always choose. A torta is a Mexican sandwich served on a bread roll that is not too thick but can withstand the many toppings added to the sandwich. Go for the chorizo, as it has just a bit of spice to it.
The sandwich is topped with cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato and jalapenos, and some mayo. The torta has so much flavor, and it’s obvious Seven Leguas uses fresh ingredients. Want to go for the tacos? You’ll find freshly prepared tortillas with many fillings, including chicken, beef, and chorizo. Add some onion and cilantro and a squeeze of lime, and you’ll have a delicious taco feast.
553 Central Ave. // +19132133736
Really? A BBQ place is part of the KCK Taco Trail? Yes, Slaps BBQ it is, and it belongs there! On Tuesdays, Slaps offers brisket tacos along with a side of your choosing. In a flour tortilla, they add grilled vegetables and a generous portion of brisket. The brisket is tender and marinated to perfection.
Bring your appetite because the tacos will fill you up before you’ve had a chance to try the cheesy potatoes or baked beans. The only sad part about these tacos is that they are only available on Tuesdays, so plan your schedule accordingly so you won’t be disappointed.
Tacos El Guero
1410 Minnesota Ave. // +19137666835
The menu is simple at Tacos El Guero, with the options of quesadillas or tacos. Meat fillings include chicken, beef, or chorizo.
What makes these tacos stand out is the addition of pinto beans. I went with the chorizo tacos and made sure I added onion and cilantro along with their house-made salsa. The pinto beans added a tasty twist to the traditional taco.
Grab a Mexican coke or Jaritos soda from the refrigerator, and your meal will be complete. There’s just something about enjoying a soda from a glass bottle, especially when enjoying tacos. The restaurant is small, but there is room for sitting.
The staff welcome you in and are so friendly. Next time I visit, I’ll try the quesadilla to try something new, but the tacos will be hard to resist.
904 N. 18th St. // +19134491258
It’s fascinating how many different types of tacos are on the KCK taco trail. El Menudazo specializes in birria tacos, and they had a rich flavor all their own.
Birria tacos are made of stewed meat and served with a broth for dipping the taco for extra flavor. El Menudazo offers beef, chicken, or lamb tacos, and to go with something different, I tried the lamb.
The meat was tender, and the flavor of the taco was out of this world. The taco has a golden color as the tortillas are deep-fried, providing a crunchy texture.
The Birria taco was probably the most flavorful on my KCK taco trail journey, and I will make a return visit.
765 Central Ave // +19136211272
Fronteras is both a grocery store and restaurant, and I love the authentic feel. You will see locals shopping for groceries but also people grabbing a quick meal after their workday.
Grab a beverage before stepping up to order tacos. To order your meal, step up to the counter, and request the meat filling and toppings for your tacos.
From chicken to carne asada, you will have your choice of fillings. Top off the taco with the essential cilantro and onion and some salsa, and you will be all set.
Seating is limited, but it wasn’t an issue finding a table. This spot is a winner as it feels like you’re stepping into the community’s everyday life.
151 S. 18th St. // +19136217000
After enjoying so many tacos, you might need a sweet treat, and KC-based Paleterias Tropicana offers an extensive menu of ice cream, popsicles, and churros. The restaurant is brightly painted in purples and greens, offering a happy vibe perfect for families or just if you need cheering up. However, it can be an overwhelming experience as the menu has so many options.
I went for a sundae as the ice cream is homemade, and there are the basics from cookies and cream to chocolate. The sundae includes strawberry syrup and whipped cream, and the portion is large, so be prepared.
At the side of the restaurant, you will find the churro stand where you can watch the churros being freshly made. If sweets are not your idea of culinary delight, the restaurant also has an assortment of tortas, tacos, and burritos. Even on a weeknight, the place was bustling, but the service was friendly and quick.
I am so grateful for the KCK taco trail, as it opened my eyes to how many local restaurants are in my city. Not only was I supporting local businesses in a time they needed it, but the tacos and tortas were also a culinary experience.
The KCK taco trail provided a list of restaurants I would not have known could be explored. I called myself a local, but I must be honest, I was missing out on so much. Each taco had a flavor and quality that made it unique, and I’m still not bored discovering what the KCK taco trail has to offer.
I have pinpointed places I’ll be going back to when I have a taco craving. Kansas City, Kansas may not be on the top of your list of food choices, but the town is ready to welcome you and surprise you with all it has to offer. I hope to see you around the KCK taco trail to discuss which place and what taco is your favorite!
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Erin Jones works in the corporate world, but her true passion is exploring. Whether it is navigating across cities in America or Europe there are no vacation hours left behind at year-end. You can find Erin’s latest travels on her blog Adventures of Erin.