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El Taco Loco — great Mexican food from a trailer

By: 28 April 2011 No Comment

Soft shell tacos with pork, cilantro, cheese and fresh lime wedges. Price? $4.90 with tax.

While northwest Arkansas residents might have grown accustomed to great Mexican food being served up from small restaurants and food trailers, such convenience is somewhat novel here in Benton.

El Taco Loco — located at 601 Military Road in Benton — offers great Mexican food, solid value and quick service. All from a fire engine red food trailer. Karen Broomfield and her husband, Mo, set up shop four months ago. Why did they establish their business?

“I saw a need for it,” Broomfield said. “It was a niche that wasn’t filled in this area.  … We thought it would be delightful, too, to just be able to serve people.”

Broomfield said they established the restaurant in the dead of winter intentionally. The couple wanted to go in business when they knew traffic would be slow so as to have the time to “work out the kinks” that pop up whenever a new restaurant opens its doors (or, window in their case) to the public.  She said those kinks have been ironed out and business is booming at El Taco Loco, thanks in part to people who work in downtown Benton who are looking for a change of pace.

The restaurant caters primarily to a lunch and early dinner crowd, being open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday except for Wednesday when it closes early at 4:30 p.m. The restaurant hasn’t done a lot in the way of advertising and relies on “word of mouth” marketing to attract new customers.

El Taco Loco on UrbanspoonBroomfield said that method appears to be working as traffic has grown steadily and El Taco Loco has more than a few regular customers who stop in often. She believes the establishment’s recipe for success will revolve around friendly service, value and entrees made with fresh ingredients.

Broomfield said she’s spent years collecting the recipes for her business from friends and family. The most popular items, so far, include tacos and the Heap it Up Quesadilla which is piled high with onions, cilantro, the customer’s choice of meat, pico de gallo, lettuce and sour cream.

Broomfield pointed out that choice of meat is important to customers — you get seasoned pork, beef or chicken, allowing for some customization. Further customization is available by virtue of homemade salsas that are available. Since the dishes are prepared fresh, diners can decide which ingredients to include in their meals. Don’t like cilantro or onions? That’s not a problem at El Taco Loco.

While some people who own food carts put in plans to expand into full fledged restaurants, Broomfield said she’s planning to stick with the food cart for awhile. Her business is growing and she’s happy with the way things are going for now.

While meals are prepared quickly, Broomfield said diners to have the option of dialing (501)960-5753 and ordering in advance. The restaurant doesn’t offer catering in the traditional sense right now, but Broomfield said the staff at El Taco Loco will certainly consider it.

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.

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