Food trucks of the Napa Valley: Tacos Don Carlos -- home of the $1 taco
Food Trucks of the Napa Valley

Food trucks of the Napa Valley: Tacos Don Carlos -- home of the $1 taco

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What you’re eating: Tacos, tacos and more tacos – all made with fresh ingredients and available for only $1. But don’t let the price fool you, these tacos are bursting with flavor and, if you’re up for trying something a little more fiery, Tacos Don Carlos has a trendy and Instagram-worthy option for you. (Hint: It involves Flamin’ Hot Cheetos).

That’s right, here you can get Flamin’ Cheeto Tacos with homemade fiery shells and topped with Cheetos, or a Flamin’ Cheeto Rito (burrito). Meat choices include steak, grilled chicken, chorizo, al pastor (pork), carne asada, and pollo asado.

Gluten-free corn tortillas are also available and, according to the owners, pair well with a side of guacamole.

Who’s making your food: Speaking of the owner, it is often Carlos himself who you will see inside the truck alongside either his wife, Maria, or one of his other family members.

“I want to keep it a family business,” says Carlos Mata, who works six days a week to run the truck with his family. He is at the store every morning by 7 a.m. to buy supplies, opens the truck up by 11:30 and keeps at until they sell-out, usually about 9 p.m.

“We cook to order – we’re constantly cooking,” Mata says.

Mata first started selling food from a taco cart a few years ago Friday and Saturday nights at Trower Avenue and Jefferson Street in Napa. He was serving between 60 and 80 people each night, but, he says, he didn’t know at the time he needed a permit. Unable to afford one at the time, he was forced to close.

Mata, however, kept receiving messages from people about how much they loved and missed his food.

“Two years later,” he says, “people were still calling me ‘We miss your tacos.’”

When Mata, a self-proclaimed “taco guy,” was finally able to buy his truck with help from his family, he decided to keep the business family friendly. That’s why he continues to serve $1 tacos and, he says, takes Sundays off to spend time with his own family.

“We’re a family of six – we gotta make it affordable for everybody,” Mata says, “Nowadays nothing is $1.”

Don’t leave without trying: If you’re a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos fan, then the Flamin’ Cheetos Taco. If it is bacon that gets you drooling, then try the Puerco Wrap Burrito – a burrito wrapped in bacon and grilled to perfection.

Pro Tip: Ask for grilled onions and chili peppers and they’ll be sure to “slap some on.”

Price Range: Most tacos are $1, but it’s $2.50 if you want homemade tortillas. A quesadilla is $8 and that bacon wrapped burrito is $15.

Where to find it: Tacos Don Carlos is located at 1700 Soscol Ave. in Napa. It is opened between 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. (or when they sell-out) Monday through Friday. On Saturdays, the truck is out at special events. Search for the truck on Instagram or Facebook for updates.

Word to the wise: In a rush? Order ahead by texting (707) 430-2252.

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