KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For those attending the 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City, Missouri, barbecue is likely at the top of visitors' lists.
But what many do not know is that KC is home to America's Taco Capital, per a 2021 Forbes article.
With dozens upon dozens of options in the area, KSHB 41's Addi Weakley and David Medina tried seven spots visitors should try while in town, in no particular order.
1150 Minnesota Ave, Kansas City, Kansas, 66102
Located in downtown Kansas City, Kansas, Bonito Michoacán serves as a restaurant and market.
It takes less than a step inside the establishment to be consumed with hunger as the smells of the kitchen waft throughout the entry.
While forming a line, customers can peruse the overhead menu featuring Mexican staples like tacos, tortas, flautas, quesadillas and gorditas.
The restaurant's menu also features platillos (entrees) like Caldo de Res (beef soup), Birria de Borrego and Menudo.
Once you've successfully navigated the line, a salsa bar — with four sauces as well as limes and vegetables for garnish — is available.
Ranking the sauces is nearly impossible, but Addi's picks are:
- Creamy light green
- Darker green
Of course, the entire experience isn't complete without a Mexican soda.
Customers pay after eating. And with prices ranging from $1.79/taco to $10.99/platillo, Bonito Michoacán is an affordable option.
@kshb41 Located in downtown Kansas City, Kansas, Bonito Michocán serves as a restaurant and market. KSHB 41 real-time editor Dre breaks down David and Addi’s first adventure on the 2023 NFL Draft taco trail. #tacos #nfl #kck ♬ original sound - KSHB 41
Carniceria y Tortilleria San Antonio
830 Kansas Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas, 66105
San Antonio is home to a mini tortilla factory. Every day, hundreds of tortillas are made from scratch.
Not only are the tortillas packaged to be sold, but they make their way to the kitchen area, onto the grill and eventually into the mouths of customers.
Between the two of us, we taste-tested four tacos: pastor, asada, carnitas and pollo.
While they were all delicious, Addi's rankings are as follows:
After loading each taco with sauce, using a tiny bit of each available, and drizzling a healthy amount of lime juice across the platter, each bite was packed with flavor.
Although, some flavors brought tears to our eyes as we learned the habanero salsa is truly spicy, the hard way.
@kshb41 Carniceria y Tortilleria San Antonio has some of the best tacos in Kansas City, according to David and Addi’s NFL Draft taco trail. #tacos #kck #nfldraft ♬ original sound - KSHB 41
Manny's Mexican Restaurant
207 Southwest Boulevard, Kansas City, Missouri, 64108
What started as a necessity turned into a staple at Manny's Mexican Restaurant.
The Kansas City Taco was born Sept. 18, 1980, in the home of the Familia Lopez.
"My father Manny, of course, and my mother Vivian, along with my father's parents Joe and Lucy," said David Lopez, general manager of Manny's. "The crispy taco has been something that our family has done out of convenience."
A hand-made tortilla is stuffed with ground beef and cooked in a fryer before it's topped off with lettuce, salsa ... and parmesan cheese.
Lopez says the taco offered his family a way to stretch affordable ingredients.
"All of these culturally diverse and beautiful foods all come from necessity, the minimal things that folks had at a certain time in their lives," Lopez said. "All they could do was put something together, but they did it with love, care and honesty — and it turned out to be something so beautiful."
"How come you're putting an Italian cheese on a Mexican taco, right?" Lopez said. "Well, because of the necessity of it. Parmesan cheese came in blocks, it was cheaper, lasted longer, you could grate it, you could stretch it and make it go farther, make it last. And that was the beauty of it."
Lopez says the taco's ingredients and integrity haven't changed in 43 years — and they never will.
@kshb41 The Kansas City Crispy Taco was born Sept. 18, 1980, in the home of the Familia Lopez. “The uniqueness of the crispy taco is what makes it beautiful,” said David Lopez, general manager of Manny’s. #kcmo #tacos #nfldraft ♬ original sound - KSHB 41
Taqueria El Camino Real
903 N 7th St., Kansas City, Kansas, 66101
Tucked into a strip along 7th Street, Taqueria El Camino Real's al pastor is proudly displayed in the window.
Any passerby is likely tempted to slow their tempo, taking in the vivacious colors while hoping to catch a smoky whiff.
Though Camino offers a full menu, the tacos al pastor are a must-try for NFL Draft attendees.
Cooks gently slice the meat from the rotating vertical spit and place it on the flat top to sizzle.
Then, the finished product is placed on top of a warm tortilla and topped with pineapple to enhance the sweet and savory experience.
Onions, cilantro, lime juice and salsa take the set-up to the next level.
Addi tried the pastor, obviously, in addition to the asada and cabeza. She can confirm the pastor is all it's talked up to be; although, all three were show-stoppers in their own right.
David tried a chicken quesadilla, which earned high marks.
@kshb41 Tucked into 7th Street in KCK, Taqueria El Camino Real’s al pastor is likely to catch the eyes of any passerby. KSHB 41 real-time editor Dre voice’s over one of David and Addi’s stops along the NFL Draft taco trail. #tacos #kck #nfldraft ♬ original sound - KSHB 41
Tarahumaras Mexican Food #2
503 N 6th St., Kansas City, Kansas, 66101
Tarahumaras Mexican Food is a birria-lover's dream.
We were given kitchen access to observe the process and it was magical.
The smell of the kitchen alone was enough to make Addi's mouth water, but the true gut punch was watching the cheese dance in sync with the meat on top of the consomé-soaked tortillas.
As the cheese melted and was folded into a comforting blanket of flavor, the crackling sound from the grill was truly one-of-a-kind.
Topped with cilantro and onion, the tacos are then ready to go swimming in consomé.
If Addi could have eaten the entire platter, she could have and would have.
So be warned, visit at your own risk as there's no way to stop thinking about these birria tacos after you have a taste.
@kshb41 Tarahumaras Mexican Food #2 is a birria-lover’s dream. David and Addi stopped by as part of their NFL Draft taco trail. #tacos #kck #nfldraft ♬ original sound - KSHB 41
Tacos El Gallo
806 Southwest Boulevard, Kansas City, Missouri, 64108
You'll find all your Mexican food favorites and a few fusion surprises, like birria ramen, at Tacos El Gallo.
Ramen noodles bathe in a warm consomé bath with beef at the bottom and onions and cilantro floating on the top.
The truly unique Asian-Mexican dish is crafted with the perfect balance of spice and kick.
Each bite fills your stomach with warmness and your heart with joy.
Of course, the tacos are top-notch as well, but there's no other place in Kansas City to find a culinary experience like this.
@kshb41 You’ll find all your Mexican food favorites and a few fusion surprises at Tacos El Gallo. David and Addi tried birria ramen and tacos as part of their NFL Draft taco trail. #kcmo #tacos #nfldraft ♬ Tití Me Preguntó - Bad Bunny
Ricos Tacos Lupe
802 Southwest Boulevard, Kansas City, Missouri, 64108
Though the hours can be tricky, those lucky enough to maneuver time successfully will be rewarded with a tasty meal at Ricos Tacos Lupe.
Ricos is known for its tacos and homemade tamales. So we tried both.
Doused in a healthy helping of hot sauce, the jalapeno tamale is delectable. But for Addi, the tacos were the MVP.
The meat was juicy and the tortillas were strong — no spillage ruined the experience.
If you're looking to expand your options, we also tried the sopes, which were also delicious.
Ricos hours are as follows:
- Monday and Wednesday: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4-8 p.m.
@kshb41 Ricos Tacos Lupe is known for tacos and homemade tamales. So David and Addi tried both as part of their NFL Draft taco trail adventure. #kcmo #tacos #nfldraft ♬ This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) [2005 Remaster] - Talking Heads
There are many other Mexican restaurants around the Kansas City area to try — these were just some of our favorites.
Feel free to tag us on social media with your favorites.