EAT OF THE WEEK: Congratulations! It’s a Taco.



It’s no secret that about 15 or 16 new taco places are opening up in your neighborhood next week, and close to a thousand or more are slated for the greater Asheville area in the next month or two. The County Commission has approved a taco bar for every school, and Mission Hospital will soon replace its maternity ward with a taco take-out window. Earlier this week, the YMCA drained the swimming pools, refilled them with cerveza & limes, then salted the edges, and announced plans to re-brand the organization as a “taco-nasium.” Word on the street is that communion wine in Buncombe County churches will soon be replaced with tequila shots, and the wafers with… tacos.

In Other Words: Whole Lotta Fuckin’ Tacos Comin’ to Town. 

So, who even gets excited about tacos anymore? Apparently I do, because, I did actually get excited about a taco or two recently, so I’m going to name them as my Eat of the Week!

My friend Monroe and others had been telling me that  Sonora — the brand-spankin’ new restaurant downtown on Patton Ave, right near to Blue Dream Curry and Empire Tattoo — had good tacos, so I went to try them twice; once with Monroe, and then I returned on my own. I ate a total of two tacos, one on each of those two separate occasions, and both were great! Also: The price was right. One of the tacos I ate was carne asada (pictured) and the other was pollo. They were were both very tasty, and I found the pollo one to be especially yummy! I devoured them each as single tacos, and felt mildly full, which is exactly what I wanted those two times I visited. A quick, affordable, snack, that’s prepared well, and served fresh and hot. Bingo-bango! One of these tacos made a great snack, I’m thinking that two would be a nice meal for me.

Sorry this picture isn’t better. I was fuckin’ hungry and ate this thing in two seconds flat.

I talked with one of the owners, Tim Burkhead, and asked him what his connection to Mexican food is. He told me that he was raised in Mexico City for 6 years of his childhood, and fell in love with the food and culture during that formative time of his life. He also let me know that he is strictly front-of-the-house, and that his kitchen staff has solid connections to Latin food in their individual family backgrounds and experience. I’ll talk to them sometime when they don’t look so busy.

So, yeah, since it kinda seems like a new a taco joint is opening every-other-day in Asheville, I thought it might be helpful for me to let you guys know that the two tacos I ate at Sonora were great, and they come in traditional styles — carne asada, pollo, puerco, & camarones — not crazy-fantazy styles, which I don’t mind, but most of the time I do just want a traditional taco, and that is why, for downtown workers, visitors, and just plain taco-lovers, I recommend the tacos at Sonora, and I choose them as my Eat of the Week!

And Speaking of Tacos…

I’m going to give honorable Eat of the Week mention to my good friends at PennyCup Coffee in The River Arts District, who recently added TacoBilly breakfast tacos to the list of things that you can buy there in the morning. They have a Billy Ocean, Billy Joel, and Billy Holiday taco, which are potato & egg, bacon & egg, and and sausage & egg respectively. Despite my personal distaste for the music of the man for which it is named, I ate a Billy Joel taco and I fucking loved it! Full disclosure requires me to let you know that I do get paid by PennyCup to run their Instagram page. Still… yay tacos!

Sonora Asheville
“Mexican Soul food in the Heart of Asheville, incredible cocktails, and stellar service!”
89 Patton Ave
Asheville, North Carolina
Phone: (828) 232-7370

PennyCup Coffee Co
“Small batch roaster features a tasting room with various decaf and custom blend coffees.”
362 Depot St, Asheville, NC 28801

Market-fresh bites in a cozy, midday taqueria featuring homey decor, including an outdoor patio.
201 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806
Phone: (828) 505-0088


From left: Chef Jacob Sessoms of Table; Chef William Dissen, The Market Place; Chef Steven Goff, Standard Foods; Chef Katie Button, Curate; Chef Joe Scully, Chestnut and Corner Kitchen; Stu Helm; Chef John Fleer, Rhubarb; Chef Karen Donatelli, Donatelli Bakery; Chef Peter Pollay, Posana Cafe; and Chef Matt Dawes, Bull & Beggar./ Photo by STEWART O’SHIELDS for ASHVEGAS.COM

Stu Helm is an artist, writer, and podcaster living in Asheville, NC, and a frequent diner at local restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and the like. His tastes run from hot dogs and mac ‘n’ cheese, to haute cuisine, and his opinions are based on a lifetime of eating out. He began writing about food strictly to amuse his friends on Facebook.


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