3 East Bay taco trucks compete in cook off

3 East Bay taco trucks compete in cook off
A Cinco de Mayo fest at East Brother Beer Co. drew large crowds, particularly for its ‘Great Taco Cook Off.'

By Zach Chouteau

Richmond’s East Brother Beer Co. was at its best and busiest on Sunday, May 5, when hundreds of revelers packed its Canal Boulevard taproom for a lively Cinco de Mayo shindig.

Drawn by the venue’s ‘Great Taco Cook Off’—a spicy showdown between three top East Bay taco trucks—event-goers also enjoyed energetic DJ music, TV sports on a massive projector screen, and lots of outdoor fun including the popular ‘cornhole’ game. As a regular visitor to the venue, this reporter was impressed by the turnout, which literally packed every inside and outdoor seat and table.

The main attraction was of course the tasty taco taste off, pitting a trio of trucks in a mano-a-mano-a-mano challenge. Those partaking in the advance sign-ups online could enjoy a taco from each truck with a pint of East Brother Beer for only $11, providing them with a chance to vote in the big challenge as well.

The three trucks partaking in the fiesta were Taqueria Esperanza, La Santa Torta and La Botana—the latter apparently a late fill-in for the previously scheduled El Agricultor. When the votes were counted, while it was reportedly close, La Santa Torta and their delicious ‘red tacos’ (aka Tacos Birrias) ruled the day. While this reporter is averse to playing favorites, it’s fair to say these deep-fried delicacies are one of our favorite East Bay bites.

In addition to ‘bragging rights,’ East Brother Beer Co. Manager Stephen Phillips told us a cash prize of indeterminate size was also on the docket, in addition to a colorful taco trophy that was on display during the spicy standoff.

Coming in second was Taqueria Esperanza, serving up tacos al pastor with hand-made tortillas, apparently barely beating out third-place finisher La Botana, who—like Santa Torta—specialized in birria tacos.

Also worthy of a shout-out is DJ JDEZ, who had folks up and dancing during much of the 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. event.

For the uninitiated, East Brother is open Wednesday through Sunday and offers plenty of diversions from a pool table to pinball to vintage video games; the venue is even home to an organized Rec League focused on such fun. There is also a steady slate of nightly food trucks on hand, with Taqueria Esperanza holding down the fort on Wednesday and La Santa Torta on-site each Thursday.

To find out the Tap Room’s hours and more visit www.eastbrotherbeer.com.