A new California-style food truck will bring authentic Mexican fare to Cincinnati’s streets just in time for Reds Opening Day this Thursday. The food truck, long anticipated by Cincinnati’s street food connoisseurs, will feature a special al pastor available on tacos, burritos, tortas and gringas – a style of quesadilla from northern Mexico.
Taco Azul owner and operator, Gary Sims, says that he has been very excited to begin operations in his hometown after living in Los Angeles for years.
“When I moved back to Cincinnati I was surprised at how much had changed, especially in our urban core. Younger people were staying in the city and couples were moving back into downtown and Over-the-Rhine,” Sims told UrbanCincy in an exclusive interview. “There was also a culinary rejuvenation here. I could actually find good sushi in Cincinnati, and I just felt that with all of this, the timing was perfect for a Cincinnati taco truck.”
Since Sims has been back in Cincinnati he says that he has also been encouraged by the work of City Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan who led the effort to create food truck parking locations throughout the Central Business District. But he does hope that more can be done to further accommodate the burgeoning food truck industry.
“Maybe in the future we could have some temporary spots for food trucks during special events like ball games, concerts or festivals. But as I said, I cannot imagine a more welcoming city council than ours here in Cincinnati.”
The desire for special event parking locations has been echoed by other food truck operators including Café de Wheels. Both food truck operators have recently expressed interest in being more closely located to Great American Ball Park for Reds Opening Day, and other special events taking place at The Banks.
“I grew up in Cincinnati, and even as a kid I can remember Opening Day being the biggest day of the year for this city,” Sims explained. “The Reds have such a great history here in Cincinnati. It is our unofficial start to spring.”
After Reds Opening Day, Sims says that customers will be able to find Taco Azul for late night food between 11pm and 2:30am in Over-the-Rhine, Northside, Mt. Adams or Downtown. He says that their lunch schedule will vary, but encourages customers to follow Taco Azul’s Twitter and Facebook accounts for live updates.
To ensure no confusion, Sims notes that Taco Azul stands out from the other local food trucks (stay up-to-date on all of Cincinnati’s food trucks through UrbanCincy’s comprehensive Twitter stream) because it is the only place to find “authentic Mexican street food,” and that food is self-contained and cooked-to-order on the truck. As the truck matures he experts to also offer specials, breakfast and try other food fusions with Latino fare.
“I love Café de Wheels and the other trucks here in Cincinnati. I think we will compliment each other and bring this city variety, and a new street cuisine that is hard to find outside of a few major cities.”
Taco Azul photograph by Thadd Fiala for UrbanCincy.