Tacos can be served from practically anywhere, one of the most popular spaces being the gas station. And why not? Customers can fill up their jalopy’s tank then stuff their own. These taco operations are busy throughout the day, but breakfast often calls for patience. Lines are common. That’s where Habaneros — The Taco Revolution in Arlington, Texas, comes in. I stopped at the gas station taqueria en route to Fort Worth. Just off the Ballpark Way exit on I-30, Habaneros takes up about half of the business with tables and booths and a salsa bar against a counter.
While I ordered tacos, a cook in the back of the open kitchen was working a large flour tortilla at the flattop griddle. I hoped that our $1.35 tacos came wrapped in those beauts. What came to the table was a quartet in small, serviceable, if gummy, flour tortillas steaming in aluminum. The machaca was wet. In place of fluffy, reconstituted salt dried beef was juicy brisket. Habanero’s signature taco carried heat with the eponymous chile, chorizo, cubed potato, chopped tomato, and onion. The potatoes were firm on the outside with a soft interior. Pale, floppy bacon was caught in scrambled eggs just this side of parched. A pico de gallo afterthought was meant to pass as huevos a la Mexicana.
There was nothing so dramatic that it forces a paradigm shift. Habaneros is anything but a revolution. It sells knockoffs of El Paso’s iconic Chico’s Tacos, rolled and fried tacos bathed in a thin tomato sauce and blanketed in a pre-shredded fiesta cheese blend dubbed Chinos tacos.
Habaneros — The Taco Revolution
2100 E. Lamar Blvd.
Arlington, TX 76006