Artsy, inviting vibe fills Tontos

Jess Briganti

Dine-and-dash can be applied to Taco Tontos because it offers a “walk-thru window” and speedy service. But many people don’t dash right after their chicken tacos. Located on 123 Franklin Ave., Taco Tontos offers a large selection of authentic, healthy Mexican cuisine without busting the wallet. The warm atmosphere was noted as “artsy” and “inviting” by some raving customers who decided not to dash.

Freshman Katie Breiding has already claimed Taco Tontos as her favorite dinner destination every other week. She ordered a soft taco with beef along with a free bottomless water to wash it all down.

Mike Podskalny, a sophomore zoology major, and Wes Stein, sophomore construction management major, stopped by last week for their first visit, and said Taco Tontos is a restaurant they want to revisit. They hadn’t heard of the restaurant prior to this semester and agree that it’s a “hidden gem.”

Podskalny and Stein ordered the same soft taco with chicken, and had an appetizer of chips and fresh salsa. They said the difference between Taco Tontos and other options is worth the drive from their on-campus home.

Podskalny complimented the almost homemade taste of its tacos and said it is worth the price he paid. Breiding also agreed with the reasonable prices.

Stein said he appreciated the quick service and easy-to-read menu that explained just what they offered.

“Sometimes I’m overwhelmed at confusing menus at new restaurants,” Stein said. “But I was able to know just what I was getting with each item.”

The readily available water is in a large container next to the order counter and has cups in place so the customers can refill at their own pace. The dining area inside holds about 10 tables, but when it’s busy on Friday and Saturday nights, seating is offered outside on the Zephyr patio where the takeout window is located.

Some tables also line the perimeter of the building. Podskalny said he enjoyed the laid-back and artsy atmosphere, along with the bulletin board where many flyers hang.

“I was able to hear about a concert I had otherwise not heard about . it was cool having something to check out while waiting for my food,” he said.

The Taco Tontos menu includes starters, burritos, tacos, tostados, taco salads and beverages. It’s open Monday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight.

Contact features correspondent Jess Briganti at [email protected].