Thursday , August 21, 2014 - 2:38 PM
Ogden’s Taco Taco recently celebrated 21 years in business.
Husband and wife co-owners Ray and Patty Anderson were living in California when her parents retired and moved to Utah more than two decades ago.
“When they got here, Patty’s dad didn’t find what he would call authentic Mexican restaurants,” Ray Anderson recalled.
Leon Barroso, who has since passed away, and his wife Mara, began talking to the Anderson’s about opening their own restaurant together.
“I have always been an avid skier,” Ray Anderson said. “Patty has always been a great cook. We came to take a look around and liked it so we moved here to start this restaurant.”
In the beginning, Ray and Mara kept their day jobs while Patty and Leon ran the restaurant. Soon, business grew so that all four were working at it full time. After one year, they were able to hire a full-time cook, Miki Perez, who still works for them.
Eventually, Mara Barroso opened Mara’s Mexican Cafe in Layton. It is now closed and she is retired.
Patty Anderson oversees the Taco Taco kitchen and takes care of the payroll. Ray Anderson manages the front end and does some of the shopping.
“I make sure everybody is happy,” he said. “I cut all of our meat, run errands, buy produce and take money.”
He attributes their success to setting a high standard.
“I buy nothing but quality stuff, from top sirloin for our steak and wonderful shrimp,” Anderson said. “We would never scrimp on quality.”
They use family recipes and insist on making things from scratch.
“We hand fry the hard tacos and tostada shells to order,” Anderson said. “We cook the rice and beans two or three times a day. We roast our own chilies. We cook it all ourselves. We pride ourselves on doing a good job.”
Some of the most popular menu items include the Nachos Borrachos ($6.25), chips smothered in melted cheese, salsa and guacamole; Enchiladas Swizas ($9.75), topped with green chile sauce, Mexican cream and cotija cheese; hard tacos ($2.50) made with choice of beef, tongue, pork, chicken or potato; and the Tostada Ray ($7.25), a crispy flour tortilla with beans, sour cream, pork, chile verde sauce, lettuce, guacamole and cotija cheese.
The Quesadilla Ahogada “Leon” ($6.75) was Leon’s favorite when he was alive, made with two corn tortillas stuffed with ham, cheese, salsa, sour cream and cotija cheese.
Each day, the menu features a different homemade soup served with tortillas. Tuesday’s Caldo Talpeno ($6.75) includes chicken, peas, carrots, garbanzo beans, cilantro and fresh avocado. Pozole ($7.50) is served Friday through Sunday, made with pork ribs, pork roast, hominy, cabbage, onions cilantro, radishes and salsa.
They serve Menudo ($7.50) on the weekends, touting it as “the hangover cure.” It is made with tripe, hominy, onions, lime, cilantro, oregano and crushed red peppers.
“Sunday is consistently our busiest day. We have a good mix of church people and hung-over people,” Anderson said.
He encourages his customers to try new things insisting that the cow tongue is “out of this world.”
“A lot of people are skeptical about trying it, but if they try it, they like it without a doubt,” he said. “It is extremely lean and flavorful and very popular in Mexico.”
He plans to see many more great years in the business.
“We have always taken pride in quality food. That is why our customers keep coming back. I enjoy doing this. It has been a very nice experience.”
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