Tacos may seem like a guilty pleasure, but a new Phoenix restaurant is changing the face of this favorite Mexican street snack. Joyride Taco House made its debut in the East Valley in 2013, where it shook up the local Mexican food scene with its fresh, gourmet take on the modern taco. Now, the popular Gilbert taco house is opening a second location in central Phoenix.
The appetizer menu at this hip, casual restaurant includes classic starters like nachos, quesadillas and guacamole. One of the most satisfying starters is the Mexican street corn, which includes a hearty serving of corn seasoned with sharp cotija cheese and paprika.
Hungry diners will find a huge selection of tacos to choose from. Some of the more unusual taco fillings include ahi tuna, chicken tinga, shrimp and veggie. There are also traditional taco filling like carnitas (braised pork), carne asada (thin, marinated beef) and slow-roasted chicken. Of course, there are also grilled or crispy fish tacos. Most tacos are topped with a fresh, crumbly Mexican cheese, slaw and made-from-scratch salsa. And all tacos are served family-style on freshly made corn tortillas.
Joyride Taco is the newest taco destination in Phoenix — Photo courtesy of Joyride Taco
Tacos are definitely the main attraction at Taco Joyride, but the restaurant also serves a selection of burritos, tortas (Mexican sandwiches), salads, soups and a small menu of house specialties. From the specialty menu, highlights include the tamales, which are stuffed with slow-braised beef and red chile. There is also a chicken and corn variety with cotija cheese and poblano peppers.
Salad lovers should give the Rhythmic Beet Salad a taste. It's a hearty combination of mixed greens, fresh beets, papaya, avocado, toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), cilantro and scallions, drenched in a sweet honey champagne vinaigrette.
The dessert menu at Joyride Tacos features three house originals. The Mo's Definitely is a homemade vanilla pudding topped with a cajeta caramel sauce, slices of fresh banana and salted pecans. For a truly decadent treat, order the Churros con Chocolate, fried dough served with a cinnamon sugar and spiced chocolate dipping sauce. And finally, there's the Better than Betty's, a Mexican chocolate brownie topped with a scoop of dulce de leche ice cream and drizzled with cajeta caramel sauce.
But taco-lovers don't just come to Joyride for the food. The restaurant also has a large drink menu featuring hand-crafted margaritas, Mexican beers and a thoughtful selection of wine. The restaurant also offers non-alcoholic aguas frescas, traditional Mexican fruit drinks. Thirsty diners can quench their thirst with a tall glass of almond horchata, pineapple, cucumber mint or strawberry agua fresca, all of which are made fresh daily.