Taste of a Taqueria

Authentic Mexican cuisine made with fresh ingredients and family recipes

Posted: April 18, 2014 at 6 a.m.

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Driving through Northwest Arkansas, one will find a number of Spanish-speaking Hispanic businesses, restaurants being the most prominent. For someone who is fond of Mexican cuisine, but unfamiliar with the language and culture, it can be intimidating to walk into a new place.

Rest assured, at Taqueria Guanajuato, even first-time guests are made to feel like family. In addition to the welcoming staff, the menu has English translations beside each item.

With two locations in Springdale, Taqueria Guanajuato delivers authentic Mexican cuisine hand-prepared with family recipes that include fresh ingredients.

Owner Maria Morales, who operates the eateries with her husband Benigno and their son Antonio, has perfected the recipes through years of experience cooking and serving meals. Her carefully crafted dishes are prepared to order, so special dietary needs can be incorporated into anyone's meal.

As a first generation Mexican family, the authenticity of the dishes sets Taqueria Guanajuato apart from many other Mexican restaurants.

Everything on the menu, down to the tortilla chips, are made fresh, in house, every day. The tortillas are rolled and pressed by hand. The sauces, marinades, refried beans, salsa and queso dip are all prepared fresh each day in the restaurant.

Taqueria Guanajuato serves genuine Mexican food with authentic south-of-the-border taste. The food is not Americanized, not the popularized Tex-Mex style. For many patrons, once they taste the real deal, there is no going back.

A Taqueria is an informal restaurant, with a focus on quickly prepared and simple dishes. Tacos and burritos are popular staples, but the menu at Taqueria Guanajuato also includes tamales, quesadillas, enchiladas, flautas, huarches, gorditas and tortas.

Breakfast is also served at both locations. Offerings include ham or chorizo breakfast burritos, eggs with ham, Mexican scrambled eggs with spicy sausage and Huevos Rancheros. Breakfast plates include rice, beans and a choice of homemade corn or flour tortillas.

The menu items are heavily portioned and affordable. Chips and salsa aren't provided with each meal, but that allows the prices to remain lower.

Palm-sized tacos served with diced onion, cilantro and a choice of meat start at $1.61 each. The burritos, bursting with rice, beans, cheese and meat, are priced between $5.03-$5.49. A quesadilla plate with rice, beans, sour cream, shredded lettuce, avocado and a cheese-filled tortilla is priced from $5.95-$6.50.

Choices of meat include asada (grilled steak), al pastor (marinated pork), pollo (chicken), carnitas (pork tips) and chorizo (Mexican sausage).

A popular Mexican combination, alambre, combines beef, ham, bacon, cheese and pineapple.

More interesting selections include organ meats such as cabeza (beef head), lengua (beef tongue), tripa (beef intestine) and buche (pork stomach).

Gorditas, or pocket tortillas made from corn, also include varieties including chicharron (pork rind), rajas con queso (jalapenos and cheese) and nopales (cactus).

A wide selection of beverages include beer, fountain soft drinks, bottles of Mexican cola (made with raw sugar instead of corn syrup), Jarritos and horchata. The horchata, a rice-based drink, is offered in flavors of pineapple, melon, strawberry, mango and tamarind.

Daily specials are offered Monday through Friday. Mondays Huaraches (oval-shaped, dough-like tortillas) are $5. Tuesdays tacos are $1.25. Wednesdays tortas (sandwiches) are $5.25. Thursdays burritos are $5. Fridays sopes (round, thick, dough-like tortillas) are $2.

Taqueria Guanajuato has an open dining area and can be reserved for special occasions and gatherings.

Both locations are situated along U.S. 71 Business in Springdale. The first location at 103 N. Thompson Street, just north of Emma Avenue, opened in 2007. The second location at 812 N. Thompson Street, in Mathias Plaza, recently opened in January.

More information and details about the menu are available at taqueriaguanajuato.com.

NAN Dining Guide Cover on 04/18/2014

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