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Plate Of The Union: King Taco


by Benni Mead



Welcome to the flavorful world of King Taco, a legendary food establishment that has captured the hearts and palates of food lovers for over five decades. With a rich history, mouthwatering menu, and commitment to sustainability and community involvement, King Taco is more than just a place to grab a quick bite. It is a culinary experience that celebrates the vibrant fusion of Mexican flavors and American street food culture.


Founded in 1974 by Raul Martinez Sr., King Taco started as a humble taco stand in East Los Angeles, California. From its modest beginnings, it has grown into a beloved food destination, with multiple locations across Southern California. The secret to its success lies in its dedication to providing authentic Mexican cuisine made with high-quality ingredients and prepared with love and attention to detail.


At King Taco, you’ll find a menu filled with an array of delectable options that showcase the diversity of Mexican cuisine. From classic street tacos bursting with savory fillings to hearty burritos loaded with rice, beans, and your choice of meats, every bite is a flavor explosion that will transport you straight to the streets of Mexico. And let’s not forget about the crispy and addictive nachos, mouthwatering quesadillas, and refreshing aguas frescas that perfectly complement the meal.


One of the standout dishes that has made King Taco a household name is their famous Tacos al Pastor. This succulent creation features marinated and grilled pork, cooked with a blend of spices and served on a soft corn tortilla. Topped with fresh onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime, these tacos are the epitome of flavor and are a must-try for any food enthusiast.


At King Taco, they believe that great food starts with great ingredients. That’s why they source local, sustainable, and organic produce whenever possible. The meats are carefully selected and marinated to perfection, ensuring that each bite is tender and bursting with flavor. This commitment to quality and sustainability not only enhances the taste of the food but also supports local farmers and reduces the environmental impact.


But it doesn’t stop there. King Taco is more than just a place to enjoy delicious food; it is deeply ingrained in the communities it serves. They actively participate in various charitable initiatives, from providing meals to those in need to supporting local organizations and events. This dedication to giving back is reflected in their mission to not only satisfy appetites but to also make a positive impact in the neighborhoods they call home.


With its unwavering commitment to excellence, mouthwatering menu offerings, and dedication to the community, King Taco has become a beloved institution in the world of food travel. So whether you’re a local looking to indulge in Mexican culinary delights or a traveler seeking an authentic taste of Southern California, King Taco is the place to be. Get ready to embark on a gastronomic journey that will leave your taste buds dancing and your heart satisfied.


History of King Taco

The story of King Taco begins in the early 1970s when Raul Martinez Sr., a Mexican immigrant with a passion for food, decided to pursue his dream of sharing his culture’s flavors with the world. With humble beginnings, he opened a small taco stand in the heart of East Los Angeles, California, serving authentic, mouthwatering Mexican cuisine.


Word quickly spread about the irresistible flavors and authenticity of the food at the little taco stand. People from all walks of life flocked to the location, eager to taste the delicious creations. The popularity of the taco stand grew exponentially, and it soon became a beloved local hotspot.


In 1974, Raul Martinez Sr. decided to officially establish King Taco as a restaurant, cementing its place in the culinary landscape of Los Angeles. With a clear mission to bring the rich and diverse flavors of Mexico to the community, King Taco quickly garnered a dedicated following, becoming a go-to destination for food lovers craving authentic Mexican fare.


Over the years, King Taco continued to expand, opening multiple locations across Southern California. Despite its growth, the restaurant always stayed true to its roots, preserving the original recipes and techniques that made it a hit from the start. The commitment to quality and authenticity became the cornerstone of the brand, ensuring that every customer’s dining experience was nothing short of exceptional.


As the years went by, King Taco solidified its reputation as a culinary institution in the food travel scene. Tourists from around the world would make a point to visit the iconic restaurant and savor the flavors that had captivated the hearts and taste buds of locals for decades.


Today, King Taco stands as a testament to the dedication and vision of its founder, Raul Martinez Sr. His commitment to providing exceptional food, crafted with love and passion, has made King Taco a household name and a staple of Southern California’s dining landscape.


While King Taco has seen tremendous success, it has never lost sight of its humble beginnings. It continues to serve as a symbol of the vibrant Mexican-American culture, showcasing the flavors and traditions that have been passed down through generations. With each bite, patrons can taste the history and the heart that goes into every dish.


As King Taco looks towards the future, it remains committed to delivering the same exceptional dining experience that has defined it for over four decades. With its rich history and unwavering dedication to quality, King Taco is poised to continue delighting and satisfying the taste buds of food enthusiasts for many years to come.


Menu Offerings

When it comes to the menu at King Taco, you can expect a mouthwatering array of Mexican-inspired dishes that are sure to satisfy your cravings. From tacos and burritos to nachos and quesadillas, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.


The star of the show at King Taco is, of course, their tacos. Made with soft corn tortillas, these tacos are filled with a variety of delicious options. Whether you prefer traditional meats like carne asada (grilled steak) and pollo asado (grilled chicken), or you’re feeling adventurous and want to try something like lengua (beef tongue) or buche (pork stomach), each taco is bursting with flavor. Don’t forget to top it off with fresh onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime for that extra kick.


If tacos aren’t your thing, King Taco also offers a selection of hearty burritos that are guaranteed to satisfy your hunger. Packed with rice, beans, your choice of meat, and topped with the perfect blend of lettuce, tomato, and cheese, these burritos are a flavor explosion in every bite. And for those who prefer a lighter option, King Taco’s salads are a fresh and healthy alternative that doesn’t skimp on taste.


No visit to King Taco is complete without trying their crispy and addictive nachos. Loaded with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and your choice of meat or vegetarian toppings, these nachos are perfect for sharing or as a meal on their own. They are the ultimate comfort food that will have you coming back for more.


If you’re in the mood for something cheesy and satisfying, King Taco’s quesadillas are a must-try. Made with a blend of melted cheese, your choice of meat or vegetarian fillings, and served with guacamole and sour cream, these quesadillas are a flavorful treat that will leave you wanting seconds.


To complement your meal, King Taco offers a selection of refreshing aguas frescas, traditional Mexican beverages made with fresh fruit and water. From horchata, a sweet and creamy cinnamon rice drink, to jamaica, a tart and tangy hibiscus tea, these drinks are the perfect accompaniment to your meal.


With such a diverse and delicious menu, King Taco truly offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a meat lover, a vegetarian, or just looking for a taste of authentic Mexican cuisine, the menu at King Taco is sure to satisfy your cravings and leave you planning your next visit.


Signature Dish: Tacos al Pastor

When it comes to King Taco, one dish stands out above all others as their revered signature dish – the famous Tacos al Pastor. These mouthwatering tacos are a true masterpiece, combining succulent marinated pork, a medley of spices, and traditional Mexican flavors to create a culinary experience that is both bold and unforgettable.


The origins of Tacos al Pastor can be traced back to the vibrant streets of Mexico City. Inspired by the Lebanese technique of cooking meat on a vertical spit, Mexican chefs adapted it to create their own unique version of this beloved dish. The result is a harmonious fusion of flavors that perfectly balances the richness of the pork with the aromatic spices.


At King Taco, the Tacos al Pastor are a work of art. The pork is marinated for hours in a blend of spices, including achiote, garlic, and various Mexican chilies, which infuses it with incredible depth of flavor. The marinated meat is then slowly cooked on a vertical spit, allowing the flavors to permeate every layer, while the outside develops a tantalizing caramelized crust.


Each taco begins with a warm, soft corn tortilla as the base. The flavorful al pastor pork is then thinly sliced and piled high onto the tortilla. To complete the masterpiece, the tacos are topped with diced onions, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime, adding a burst of brightness to the savory and tender meat.


With just one bite, you’ll understand why Tacos al Pastor are the crown jewels of the King Taco menu. The combination of juicy, perfectly seasoned pork, the slight tang of lime, and the freshness of the onions and cilantro, together create a flavor explosion that will transport you straight to the bustling streets of Mexico City.


Pair your Tacos al Pastor with a refreshing agua fresca, like the classic horchata or a tangy tamarind, and you have a match made in culinary heaven. This perfect combination of flavors and textures is sure to delight your taste buds and leave you craving more.


Whether you’re a long-time fan of Tacos al Pastor or new to this incredible dish, King Taco’s version is truly exceptional. Each bite is a celebration of the rich heritage and culinary traditions that have shaped Mexican cuisine, making Tacos al Pastor a must-try when you visit King Taco.


Ingredients and Preparation

At the heart of the deliciousness that is King Taco lies their dedication to using high-quality ingredients and traditional preparation methods. The careful selection and meticulous preparation of these ingredients are what makes each dish at King Taco a true culinary masterpiece.


When it comes to their signature Tacos al Pastor, King Taco starts with the star ingredient – pork. They handpick the finest cuts of pork, ensuring that it is tender, juicy, and full of flavor. The pork is then marinated for hours in a blend of spices that may include achiote, garlic, paprika, cumin, and a variety of Mexican chilies. This marination process allows the flavors to penetrate and infuse each piece of meat, creating a taste sensation like no other.


Once the pork has marinated to perfection, it is time for the magic of the vertical spit. The marinated meat is stacked on a large skewer and slowly cooked on a rotating vertical grill, typically called a trompo. As the meat rotates, the outer layer caramelizes, creating a deliciously crispy and slightly charred crust, while the inside remains tender and juicy.


The tortillas used for the Tacos al Pastor at King Taco are made fresh daily. They are soft, corn tortillas that provide the perfect vessel for the flavorful fillings. The combination of the tender, marinated pork and the warm, supple tortillas creates a textural harmony that will leave you craving more.


To complete the Tacos al Pastor, King Taco adds a finishing touch of diced onions, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. These simple yet essential garnishes add a pop of freshness and brightness to the already flavorful taco, elevating it to new heights.


Each step of the preparation process at King Taco is done with passion and precision, ensuring that every ingredient is treated with the utmost care and respect. From the marination to the grilling to the final assembly, the focus is on creating a dish that is truly exceptional.


It is this commitment to using high-quality ingredients and traditional preparation methods that sets King Taco apart. The dedication to creating an authentic and unforgettable dining experience is evident in every bite, making each visit to King Taco a delicious adventure.


Whether you are indulging in their signature Tacos al Pastor or exploring other menu items, you can trust that the ingredients have been thoughtfully chosen and prepared with the utmost care. At King Taco, the combination of quality ingredients and expert preparation ensures that each dish is a celebration of Mexican flavors and a testament to their culinary expertise.


Other Popular Menu Items

While the Tacos al Pastor may reign as the star of the show at King Taco, there are plenty of other mouthwatering menu items that deserve recognition. From traditional favorites to unique creations, these dishes have won the hearts of food enthusiasts and have become beloved staples at King Taco.


For those seeking a classic taste of Mexico, the Carne Asada Tacos are a must-try. Featuring tender grilled steak, the meat is expertly seasoned and cooked to perfection. Served on a soft corn tortilla and topped with onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime, these tacos are simple yet incredibly flavorful.


If you’re in the mood for a hearty and satisfying meal, the King Taco Burritos are a popular choice. Filled with your choice of meat, rice, beans, lettuce, tomato, and cheese, these burritos are a flavor-packed delight. The combination of ingredients creates a delicious harmony of flavors and textures in every bite.


For cheese lovers, the Cheese Quesadillas are a cheesy indulgence that hits all the right spots. Made with a generous amount of melted cheese and served with guacamole and sour cream, these quesadillas are crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. They are the perfect comfort food that will leave you craving more.


Vegetarian options are also available at King Taco, ensuring that everyone can find something delicious to enjoy. The Vegetable Tacos and Bean and Cheese Burritos are flavorful and satisfying options for those looking for meat-free alternatives. Packed with fresh vegetables and perfectly seasoned beans, these dishes are a delicious way to experience the flavors of Mexican cuisine.


Of course, no meal at King Taco is complete without a side order of their famous crispy and addictive nachos. Loaded with melted cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and your choice of meat or vegetarian toppings, these nachos are the ultimate snack or appetizer. Each bite is a delightful combination of cheesy, crunchy, and savory flavors that will keep you coming back for more.


With a menu full of delectable options, King Taco offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a fan of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, or nachos, you’re guaranteed to find a dish that will satisfy your cravings and leave you wanting to try every item on the menu.


King Taco’s commitment to using high-quality ingredients and crafting each dish with care ensures that every bite is a memorable experience. So, whether you’re a meat lover, a vegetarian, or someone looking to explore the world of Mexican flavors, King Taco is sure to have something that will tantalize your taste buds.


Sustainability Efforts

At King Taco, they understand the importance of sustainability and have taken steps to minimize their environmental impact. They are committed to making conscious choices that promote a healthier planet and a more sustainable future.


One of the ways King Taco promotes sustainability is through their sourcing practices. They prioritize using locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, reducing transportation emissions and supporting local farmers and suppliers. By sourcing ingredients from nearby farms, they also ensure freshness and quality in their dishes.


Additionally, King Taco places emphasis on using organic and sustainable ingredients. They strive to incorporate organic produce into their menu items, reducing the use of harmful pesticides and chemicals. This not only benefits the health and well-being of their customers but also supports responsible farming practices.


Another key aspect of King Taco’s sustainability efforts is waste reduction. They have implemented recycling programs and energy-efficient practices in their restaurants to minimize waste generation. They prioritize the use of eco-friendly packaging and utensils made from compostable or recyclable materials, aiming to reduce single-use plastics and non-biodegradable waste.


Furthermore, King Taco implements efficient water usage strategies to conserve this precious resource. They have installed water-saving technologies such as low-flow faucets and toilets, and regularly monitor their water consumption to ensure they are minimizing their water usage while maintaining high sanitation standards.


King Taco also promotes sustainable practices to their customers. They actively encourage diners to reduce food waste by offering appropriate portion sizes and providing take-out containers for leftovers. They also educate customers about the importance of recycling and responsible disposal of packaging materials.


By incorporating sustainability into their operations, King Taco aims to lead by example and inspire others in the food industry to adopt eco-friendly practices. They understand that every effort, no matter how small, contributes to a larger movement towards a greener future.


Overall, King Taco’s sustainability efforts extend beyond simply serving delicious food. They are committed to making environmentally conscious choices and minimizing their carbon footprint. Through responsible sourcing, waste reduction strategies, and customer education, King Taco demonstrates that it is possible to indulge in flavorful cuisine while also being mindful of the environment.


Community Involvement

King Taco has always been deeply rooted in the communities it serves and believes in giving back. They actively engage in various community involvement initiatives, supporting local organizations, events, and those in need. Their commitment to making a positive impact goes hand in hand with their dedication to providing delicious food.


One of the ways King Taco demonstrates their community involvement is through their charitable efforts. They frequently collaborate with local food banks and nonprofits to provide meals for individuals and families in need. Whether it’s donating food or organizing fundraisers, King Taco is committed to helping alleviate hunger and supporting those facing food insecurity.


Beyond providing meals, King Taco also supports local organizations and events that promote community growth and well-being. They sponsor sports teams, local festivals, and cultural events, recognizing the importance of preserving and celebrating the diverse cultures that make up their community. Through these sponsorships, they contribute to creating a sense of unity and pride among residents.


In addition to financial support, King Taco actively engages in volunteer work. Their employees often participate in community clean-up projects, beach clean-ups, and other environmental initiatives. By rolling up their sleeves and taking part in these activities, King Taco demonstrates their commitment to enhancing the quality of life for both residents and the environment.


King Taco also provides opportunities for local talent to showcase their skills and pursue their passion for the culinary arts. They actively hire from within the community, offering employment and career advancement to individuals with a passion for food and a desire to contribute to their local community.


Furthermore, King Taco recognizes the importance of education and invests in the future by providing scholarships to students pursuing careers in the culinary industry. These scholarships aim to support and inspire the next generation of chefs and food entrepreneurs, ensuring that the culinary traditions and flavors King Taco celebrates will continue to thrive.


King Taco’s community involvement initiatives extend far beyond their restaurant doors. They take pride in being part of the communities they serve and strive to make a positive and lasting impact. Whether through charitable donations, sponsorships, volunteer work, or supporting local talent, King Taco demonstrates their commitment to uplifting and strengthening the communities they call home.


Locations and Expansion

What began as a small taco stand in East Los Angeles has grown into a beloved food destination with multiple locations across Southern California. King Taco’s success and popularity have led to their expansion, allowing even more people to experience their flavorful Mexican cuisine.


Today, King Taco has established itself as an iconic restaurant chain, with various locations strategically situated in different neighborhoods. Each location aims to preserve the authenticity and quality that King Taco is known for, while also adapting to the unique tastes and preferences of the surrounding communities.


While the majority of King Taco’s locations are concentrated in Southern California, their reach continues to expand. With each new location, they have brought their exceptional flavors and commitment to excellence to new neighborhoods and communities.


King Taco’s expansion has been driven by the high demand for their delicious food and the strong loyalty of their customer base. The longstanding reputation they have built over the years has created a devoted following, with people eagerly awaiting the opening of new King Taco locations.


Despite their growth, King Taco remains committed to maintaining the quality and authenticity that has made them a food travel favorite. Every new location undergoes rigorous training and quality control to ensure that the menu offerings, flavors, and dining experience at each restaurant are consistent with the high standards set by the original location.


As King Taco continues to expand, their focus remains on staying true to their roots. They do not compromise on the use of fresh, high-quality ingredients or the traditional preparation methods that have defined their cuisine. Each location strives to create a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere that captures the essence of Mexican street food culture.


With their continued success and growing popularity, it is safe to say that King Taco’s expansion is far from over. As they explore new territories and bring their exquisite flavors to more communities, King Taco remains dedicated to delivering an exceptional dining experience to all who indulge in their delectable offerings.



King Taco is more than just a food establishment; it is a culinary journey that celebrates the rich flavors and traditions of Mexican cuisine. With its authentic menu offerings, dedication to sustainability and community involvement, and expanding presence in Southern California, King Taco has firmly established itself as a beloved institution in the world of food travel.


From the moment you step into a King Taco location, you are greeted with an inviting atmosphere and the tantalizing aroma of sizzling meats, fresh tortillas, and aromatic spices. Whether you’re indulging in their signature Tacos al Pastor, savoring a hearty burrito, or enjoying a plate of crispy nachos, each bite is a celebration of flavor and a testament to the skill and passion that goes into every dish.


But King Taco goes beyond creating extraordinary culinary experiences. They recognize the importance of sustainability and actively take steps to minimize their environmental impact. From sourcing local and organic ingredients to implementing waste reduction strategies, King Taco is committed to doing their part in creating a greener and more sustainable future.


Furthermore, King Taco is deeply invested in the communities they serve. Through charitable efforts, volunteer work, and sponsorship of local organizations and events, they strive to make a positive impact on the lives of those around them. King Taco’s commitment to community involvement extends to supporting local talent and providing opportunities for individuals pursuing careers in the culinary arts.


With their expanding presence and dedicated following, King Taco’s impact extends far beyond their restaurant doors. They have become a beacon for food enthusiasts, creating memorable dining experiences rooted in tradition, quality, and pride.


So whether you’re a local seeking a taste of home or a traveler in search of authentic Mexican flavors, King Taco beckons you to embark on a culinary adventure. Allow yourself to be transported to the vibrant streets of Mexico as you savor the exquisite flavors, immerse yourself in the welcoming atmosphere, and embrace the rich heritage that King Taco embodies.


Experience the magic of King Taco and discover why it has captivated the hearts and taste buds of food lovers for over five decades. Indulge, enjoy, and savor every moment, for a visit to King Taco is more than just a meal – it’s a celebration of culture, community, and extraordinary cuisine.