Monday, May 12, 2008

Memories of Taco Tico

When I first moved to Columbia in 1979 I did not have much money and my first job was at Woodhaven Learning Center making 10 cents above minimum wage. It may not of been a high paying job but it was the most rewarding I've ever had. Working with handicapped children and young adults was hard work, especially for someone who had no training in the field. College kids were drawn to Woodhaven for various reasons ie. helping the less fortunate, flexible working hours and days, hanging out with or picking up other students (girls) etc. Since we were not making much money everyone frequented the less expensive restaurants like Taco Tico.

Taco Tico had two locations in Columbia, one on Worley St. near the now defunct Biscayne Mall and the more popular location (for us) on the Business Loop. I believe it may have been where you continue going North on College Avenue and end up in their parking lot. They had the standard fare for a Mexican chain but their tacos were every one's favorite. The tacos were the greasiest things I have every ate and they tasted so good! Taco Tico had a flavor of its own and even with grease dribbling down our chins we consumed them by the dozen. I remember they were cheap but I do not recall the 1979 price. I recently looked up Taco Tico on the Internet and found they are still in business in the bordering states. Why they moved out of Columbia is a mystery but I remember a rumor that they used cat or dog food for the taco filling. It probably help in their sales, especially with college students because we thought that was cool. Every time I drive by the two old locations I remember the good times I had with my college friends at Taco Tico and even feel like a road trip to the nearest location. Maybe some day.


phlogdo said...

Found this site while looking for something else. I lived in Columbia from 1975 until 1983. We used to go to Taco Tico all the time, and you are exactly right in your assessment..... greasiest tacos ever, and a totally unique (good!!) taste. I think they were about 35 cents each in 76-77 time frame.

When I lived in one of the Mizzou dorms, it was almost a nightly occurence that about 10 O'clock or so, someone would come out in the hall and yell "Tico Run!!!" Everyone would pile out and place their orders.... 5 tacos. 8 tacos. 10 tacos!! You could get them Mild, Hot, Extra Hot, Extra Hot with Green Chilies, or "No Sauce". The "No Sauce" option gave rise to a saying for my friends and I. Whenever we'd encounter something we thought sucked or was uncool, we'd say it had "No Sauce". Like KU basketball... "No Sauce". I still say that. (That's still true, by the way.).

Thanks for the Columbia memories. I live in TN now, but still miss the nightly "Tico runs".

Just A Little Bit About Us said...

Taco Tico was on Business Loop close to where the big Taco Bell is now. I believe it's where Burger King is now. I remember taking my four kids every Tuesday because they offered a "all-you-can-eat" for one price! They also had a store (their first) in the Biscayne Mall.

Sue s said...

No one has ever made sanchos that were as good as taco ticos in the 70's. they didn't use chili pepper from the can and must have used jalapeno juice,. I've tried to emulate that recipe with no luck.At one time in the 80's there was a taco tico in rolla mo but it's gone now too ,i think.. brings back memories just thinking of them!!