Traditionalists moan; this is not your typical taco list. We love street tacos, too, but a field of fusion concepts has captured our imagination, offering notable bites and craveable combinations. The demand for fresh Mex feels insatiable, but what unites this band of taco renegades is a blatant disregard for what’s expected. With handmade tacos boasting ingredients both fresh and local, flavor is fundamental at these local eateries.
ASADA: CARNE ASADA
No longer just a truck, ASADA’s location on Wade Hampton is in an iconic spot next to IHOP (formerly Haus Edelweiss). The carne asada taco boasts a superbly marinated steak with melted queso blanco inside the corn tortilla. Keeping their concept atypical, ASADA reflects the multicultural experiences of owners Gina Petti and Roberto Cortez.
$-$$. Closed Sunday & Monday. 903 Wade Hampton Blvd. (864) 770-3450, asadarestaurant.com
AUTOMATIC TACO: PORK BELLY
A pan-Asian taco is the clear winner at this mobile taqueria—think pork belly, kimchi slaw, cashews, and green onion melded together for a few memorable bites. Not sure where the Automatic Taco truck will be next? Check their Facebook page for popular placements like Quest Brewery, The Swamp Rabbit Inn, and Piney Mountain Bike Lounge.
$. Schedule varies. (404) 372-2266, facebook.com/automatictaco
CANTINA 76: CHICKEN TERIYAKI
Only Cantina 76 could make taco junkies swoon over a teriyaki chicken and feta cheese combo, but with its grilled onions and sweet sesame chile sauce—it’s perfectly nom. A prime spot at ONE City Plaza makes this Midlands-based concept a must-stop on Greenville’s taco scene.
$, L, D. 103 N Main St. (864) 631-2914, cantina76.com
FARMHOUSE TACOS: TRAVELERS REST HOT CHICKEN
Heaps of taco joints offer the hot chicken option, but few do it like Farmhouse Tacos. Freshly fried chicken is hot-sauce-dipped, wrapped in a flour tortilla, then topped with cornbread croutons, pickled okra, and buttermilk dressing. Taking “locally sourced” to heart, the folks at Farmhouse have a chalkboard shrine showcasing local and regional farm partnerships.
$-$$, L, D, SBR. 164 S Main St, Travelers Rest. (864) 610-0586, farmhousetacos.com
THOROUGH FARE: MAHI TACO
For all you fish tacos aficionados, Thoroughfare food truck is first in line for the area’s favorite. Battered Mahi—not farmed Tilapia—is slipped beneath a shredded kale salad Neal Barley wrings by hand, rendering greens that are undeniably delicious. Catch the truck at weekly stops like The Community Tap, Grateful Brew, and various office complexes.
$. Schedule varies. (864) 735-8413, thoroughfarefoodtruck.com
TIPSY TACO: MR. POTATO HEAD
For a unique vegetarian taco, head to Tipsy Taco on the Eastside of town. Griddled potatoes, pepper jack cheese, charred tomato salsa, and lettuce create a savory sensation through and through. And don’t miss out on Tipsy Taco’s excellent blended salsa served alongside thin, crispy chips.
$$, L, D. 215 Pelham Rd, B206, Greenville. (864) 603-1144, tipsytaco.net
WHITE DUCK TACO SHOP: BANGKOK SHRIMP
The new kid on the taco block, White Duck sets up shop at Hampton Station in the Water Tower District. This taqueria— cult following included—feels right at home next to Birds Fly South Ale Project. Try the Bangkok Shrimp taco with lightly fried shrimp and sweet, pungent quick curried pickles (and then try not to order three more). $-$$, L, D. 1325 Hampton Road Extension, Greenville. whiteducktacoshop.com
WILLY TACO FEED & SEED: CRISPY AVOCADO
This avocado bombshell is the taco to order, namely for its pristinely ripe avo, which is ideally portioned, dropped into a fryer upon order, and then flawlessly garnished with microgreens, crema, pico, and toasted sesame. The ridiculously delicious bite is accentuated by Willy’s upcycled architecture and some seriously friendly staff.
$-$$, L, D. Closed Monday. 217 Laurens Rd. (864) 412-8700, willytaco.com
Green Party // The explosion of artisan taco joints in the area means an increase in flavor diversity and an influx of fixin’s that are fresh and local.