A version of this post was originally published on MSN Postbox, which until the project was terminated Sept. 1 was my day job. The piece was part of the website’s Campus Guide topic. Now that students have settled into the course load I’d like to share it with Taco Trail readers and recommend several places to get your taco fix near Southern Methodist University.
Pizza fuels many a college town in the Northeast. In Texas, however, higher education finds nourishment in tacos. No other Dallas university campus is as sustained by taco shops and Tex-Mex restaurants than that of Southern Methodist University.
Across from SMU on Hillside Avenue is Digg’s Taco Shop. The fast-casual operation takes inspiration from Austin’s music scene (wall-mounted LPs), but it’s not a dump with sticky counters. The restaurant’s clean orange and white color scheme marks it as acceptable for mom and dad on parents’ day. More than acceptable are the mahi and the carnitas tacos, kicked up a notch with a margarita ice pop.
Snider Plaza is home to chic boutiques, local stalwarts (Kuby’s Sausage House makes Dallas a better place), including Bandito’s Tex-Mex Cantina, a haven of stout enchiladas bear-hugged by chili con carne and tacos aplenty. Among the standards here are the Big D’s signature taco, the brisket, and one stuffed with steak “imported from next door,” the Kuby’s “Aged-Ribeye.”
Rusty Taco straddles the line between gussied up and traditional operation. From the kitchen of the converted gas station comes the best shrimp taco in Dallas, one of the best brisket tacos in town and the restaurant’s specialty, the Rusty, filled with achiote-marinated shredded pork with pineapple, onion and cilantro.
On the same block, Desperados Mexican Restaurant, opened in 1976 by Mexico native Jorge Levy, is the puffy-taco place. The namesake Desperados Tacos are flash-fried flour tortillas, not the usual corn, bearing beef or chicken and jack cheese.
Taco Joint offers students that most Texas of tacos, the breakfast. Alongside the standard bacon, potato and chorizo offerings is the house’s migas taco, a bramble of eggs, tortilla chips, onions, tomatoes, Serrano chilies and cheese.
It’s not the only breakfast taco mecca nearby. Rusty has a crackerjack chorizo and egg. And at the SMU outpost of Austin-based Torchy’s Tacos coeds can get their fill of morning munchies, such as the Monk Special, the Wrangler and the customizable selections. Of course, a visit to Torchy’s is incomplete without the trademark Dirty Sanchez, which you’ll just have to order. Consider it the pop quiz in your taco curriculum. Without it, the journey to academic excellence is an empty one.Digg’s Taco Shop 6309 Hillcrest Ave. 214-520-0155 Bandito’s Tex-Mex Cantina 6615 Snider Plaza 214-750-6100 Rusty Taco 4802 Greenville Ave. 214-613-0508 Desperados Mexican Restaurant 4818 Greenville Ave. 214-363-1850 Taco Joint 6434 E. Mockingbird Lane 214-821-8226 Torchy’s Tacos 5600 SMU Blvd. 972-993-8226