Authentic Mexican food is one of the best finds you can get in a local area, and Portland is no exception! Just thinking about a mouth-watering quesadilla, or enchilada is enough to make us take to Google in a search for what’s good in the area, and where we can get the best food for the best prices.
Santa Fe Taqueria is absolutely one of those places. A family-owned Mexican restaurant, Santa Fe Taqueria has been in the business for over 30 years! Maya Cardoso—the current owner and operator of Santa Fe Taqueria—is proud of the work her uncle started in 1990, and together, we talk all about what Santa Fe Taqueria has to offer, the kind of foods they’re selling, and the overall atmosphere of their restaurant. Let’s get started!
IN THIS EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN:
- All about where Santa Fe Taqueria started. In 1990, Maya’s uncle started the business, and she explains that it was one of the first taqueria’s to open up in the area! Collectively, they own 3 locations in Portland, and all of them run with the same style of menu, service, and atmosphere. Together, she’s kept all 3 locations in business for over 30 years!
- Maya explains to us what a taqueria is, telling us that it’s more about the style in which you get your food. Similar to an assembly line, the food is made to order right in front of you as you’re waiting, and everything is plated in front of them to their exact specifications. The ways in which people can customize their food are truly limitless, and the quick order based system means very short waits!
- Maya also goes over their menu with us, explaining that there’s plenty of authentic Mexican meat choices that are plated in a Tex Mex sort of style. With over 8 different kinds of meat offered—from a house special chicken in chocolate-based sauce to a more classic ground beef or carnitas—you can rest assured that there’s something for everyone. On top of that, Maya also assures that there’s plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, like rice and beans with some fresh salsa!
- Maya proudly tells us that everything is made in-house. Cooks arrive as early as 7 AM to prep for the day—all the salsas for simmering are made fresh, all of the cold salsas are made fresh (like pico de gallo), and all meats are prepared fresh multiple times a day. The staff is prepping and preparing all day long to ensure that the food you’re being served is as fresh as possible.
- Maya then talks to us about the atmosphere of the restaurant, stating that they’ve been in the same location for 27 years! While the neighborhood has gone through all sorts of changes around them, Maya was more focused on observing the kind of people that visited their restaurant. And, through that, she found that they have a very diverse and unique audience that comes to visit them during the week! With events scattered throughout—a kid’s musician on Wednesday’s, salsa dancing on Thursday’s, and happy hour every day—they’ve garnered people from all walks of life, and they’re very happy with it.
- Maya also tells us about La Cantina next door to the restaurant! It’s traditional, she says, where you have a dining space on one side, and a Cantina on the other. It’s open every day, and is stocked with a full bar, a complete drink list, and several specialty house margaritas, including one named after the restaurant itself! With plenty of TVs for watching sports, as well as an open patio, the Cantina is a fun place for people to drink and be social with each other.
- Lastly, Maya talks to us about how they accommodate for parties, explaining that they love hosting events for anyone who’s interested! Any tables can be moved around to sit a large party comfortably, and people are even encouraged to bring their own music playlist, or even a DJ, for hosting events!
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
Did Maya not get to answer a burning question on your mind? No problem! You can get ahold of her at any of the social media for the restaurant listed above—she’s quick to respond and answer any questions anyone might have. Overall, it’s very easy to see why Santa Fe Taqueria is such a good find for people who enjoy authentic, freshly made food, and with so many chances to experience something new, we highly encourage that you check them out as soon as you can!