taco john’s

In the Iowan Outback.

In the Iowan Outback.

Since this blog is read by millions of people, in all corners of the globe, I figure some people may not know what Taco John’s is.

And to those people, I feel sorry for you. Not because Taco John’s is the greatest place on Earth. It’s not. But because you have lived such a sheltered life. Not to know this fast food chain, Mexican food wannabe with a West-Mex mix, headquartered in Cheyenne, Wyoming is a tragedy. You people don’t even know Potato Oles are!!??!! Well, they are a pile of nickel-sized hashbrown type disks. They are synonymous with the name Taco John’s. Clearly a staple for anyone who truly knows Mexican food.

So, on a recent trip, my princess and I stopped at a Taco John’s in Maquoketa, Iowa, which, next to Oaxaca, Mexico, is my Latin food Mecca.

I tried 3 tacos on this stop, which leaves 3 that I didn’t try…plus the taco burger.

First, I had a softshell chicken taco. I appreciate the chunks of chicken they put in the taco. Normally, chicken is shredded on tacos and is dry, but not here. I also like the doughiness of the tortilla. The downside, however, is the lack of any flavor or spice. It tasted very clean, but very plain. Not bad, but not great.

My next taco was the crispy shell beef taco. This too has nice texture, both in shell and meat. It’s crunch, and the meat is too greasy. It fell victim, though, to the same bland flavor as the chicken taco.

Not to sound like a broken record, but I also feel the Taco Bravo is a little flavor-less. Much like the Double Decker Taco (think outside bun), it is a hardshell taco with a softshell tortilla glued to it with refried beans. It looks good, but the iceberg lettuce sitting on top has as much flavor as the meat (I hope that’s not a slap in the face to all the Icebergers out there….).

Since John clearly hasn’t invested in spices, I suggest smothering your tacos in plenty of salsa. They have a nice selection of salsas from which to choose at least.

Although the tacos at Taco John’s seem a little healthier than the options at other fast food taco chains, I think I prefer the less healthy, more flavored varieties.

Maybe I should have tried one of their other 425 locations…..or maybe I should just stick to traditional, non whiteboy

The Great Plains...

The Great Plains…


  • Location:  1306 43rd St., Maquoketa, IA (Maquoketa Caves)
  • Tourists:  Josh, Julia
  • Tacos sampled:  softshell chicken, crispy beef, shredded beef taco bravo (also have softshell beef, crispy shredded beef, stuffed grilled taco and a taco burger)
  • Toppings:  lettuce, cheese
  • Salsa:  pico de gallo (mild), salsa roja (mild), salsa roja (medium), salsa roja (hot), salsa verde (very hot), sliced jalpenos.
  • Extras:  none
  • Tortillas:  crispy corn, soft flour, stuffed (flour)
  • Atmosphere:  fast food, lonely, clean, safe, white white
  • Price:  $1.19-$2.59/taco
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