I’ve been trying to take the long drive into Medina for tacos for a long time now. After reading Andrew Galarneau’s article about the wonderful and authentic taco stand outside the Monte Alban grocery store, I’ve had it on my wishlist. So I reached out to my buddies Pete and Chris from Lloyd Taco Trucks and we decided to make a joint trip to Medina so we could check out the grocery store and see how good these tacos could be.
Monte’s taco stand is only open Friday through Sunday and the hours are roughly 11am to 6pm-ish (nothing is exact). I took the drive to Medina on Friday afternoon with the Lloyd guys (Teddy joined too) and we arrived a little late (5:30ish) and found the taco stand was closed but luckily the grocery store was still open (open until 8pm). After doing a little shopping and watching Chris and Pete get really excited about seeing different types of corn tortillas, we cashed out and planned to visit the less exciting Mariachi De Oro. It turns out our timing didn’t matter that much, the stand was closed that weekend because of a wedding but the cashiers of the store pointed us in the direction of a different taco stand just down the street.
Unless we were specifically looking for it, we probably would have driven right by El Gran Burrito. Located about 1/2 a mile down the street from Monte Alban, El Gran Burrito is a small trailer in a parking lot of an auto garage. There is just one guy working on board (on the menu the name Juan Gonzalez was written) and the kitchen inside the truck was pretty simple. The menu is very small; tacos are $7 for 5, a burrito is $6 and quesadillas were $5. We definitely brought our appetites and everyone ordered all three options and tried every meat that was available that night.
The burritos and quesadillas were good but not that exciting, honestly you could get comparable versions at Chipotle or some of the better Mexican restaurants in Buffalo. The burrito had Spanish rice, a hybrid stewed/refried beans, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped lettuce and meat. They were good and large but not worth a 40 minute drive. The quesadilla was incredibly simple and had just meat and cheese between two tortillas.
What stood out and really impressed all of us were the tacos. They were served in the traditional Mexican style, a simple preparation of chopped meat on a single corn tortilla (cooked on a flat top) and topped with chopped onion and cilantro. The meats that were available that day were beef, pork, chicken, chorizo and Barbacoa. All four us ordered 5 tacos and tried each meat with their avocado and spicy red sauce. The pork, chorizo and Barbacoa were awesome and universally loved by the group, the meat was tender and had a really wonderful flavor. Their spicy red sauce also had a wonderful complex flavor that had just the right amount of heat to help me break into a sweat but without too much pain. Overall, they were authentic and deHighly recommended.
The guys from Lloyd obviously know their tacos, so it should say a lot that they were so pleased with the quality of those served at El Gran Burrito. Teddy even said it reminded him of the real deal taco stands in Dallas. If I ever find myself in the area (maybe picking apples at LynOaken Farms, not too far away) then I would definitely go back and destroy 10 tacos with no problem. They have a two benches that allow people to take a seat and eat right there, but the majority of Juan’s customers were getting their orders to go. I’m still looking forward to trying Monte Alban’s taco stand, including their tortas (highly recommended by Andrew Galarneau), but El Gran Burrito’s tacos are also worth the drive.
El Gran is also only open Friday, Saturday (both 11am – 9pm) and Sunday (11 to ?) and they only take cash.