Cuco’s Taqueria has been a favorite dining establishment of many people in Columbus for many years. Their traditional, Mexican-style cuisine has earned them legions of local fans who crave authentic lunch and dinner combos comprised of saucy enchiladas, enormous burritos, spicy tamales, and more. But one thing that sets Cuco’s apart from most other ethnic restaurants in town, is that they also offer a regular morning menu, which is filled with those same gigantic plates of tasty Hispanic favorites, but served breakfast style!
Cuco’s is a colorful space, full of typical, Mexican restaurant-style décor and kitsch. It’s located along Henderson Rd, near Upper Arlington, in a sad-looking strip mall that would be easy to miss. But driving past would be a mistake for those looking for a delightful breakfast…but more on that in a minute.
The inside of the restaurant is divided into several seating areas, including a bar in the back, a larger dining room in the front, and a side dining area. Rumor has it that Cuco’s will soon be expanding to include the storefront next door (I’m assuming they’ll knock out the far wall to make the dining area larger) and a front patio area. The lighting in the current space is on the dim side (at least it was that morning), aside from the large windows in the front of the store, which is ok for a casual dining experience with friends, not so great for a breakfast blogger taking photos (lol). Honestly though, it was a comfortable atmosphere with plenty of seating for large and small parties alike.
Cuco’s also features a small “store” area just inside the front door, which is essentially a long row of shelving that contains a fairly wide variety of hot sauces, Mexican groceries, import beers, and novelty items including Cuco’s t-shirts.
We were a little surprised that our breakfast started with complimentary chips and salsa, much like we’re accustomed to at a typical lunch or dinner service at many Mexican restaurants. The chips were warm and fresh, and the salsa was your typical restaurant salsa. Hey, why not?
One huge bonus of dining at Cuco’s is having the opportunity to sample their fresh salsa bar. Chips and regular salsa is fine, but why settle for that when Cuco’s offers free Pico de gallo, pickled vegetables with Mexican spices, limes, radishes….
Green chili sauce, fresh hot sauce, and more. I really enjoyed the freshness and the vibrant flavors of the salsas that were available. Nice touch!!
Cuco’s breakfast menu is a delightful mix of traditional Mexican favorites and classic diner food. Over a dozen dishes are featured, with everything from a plate of flapjacks to full breakfast platters. Speaking of hotcakes, I’m quite surprised our boy didn’t order those, since that’s usually what he goes for (I swear he’s addicted to maple syrup). Instead, he selected the Breakfast Tacos ($5.79). The tacos come in five varieties, of which this dish comes with your choice of any three. Steven chose eggs and bacon, eggs and ham, and machaca (shredded beef scramble), with the other two options being egg & cactus and egg & potato. They came topped with tomatoes, red onion and cheese, which all looked really clean and fresh. The boy started with the machaca taco, and only got through that single selection before deciding to box the rest up to take home. It was, indeed, a huge potion for an eight year old to conquer.
I ordered the largish El Tapatio Platter ($6.99), which consisted of two eggs, two barbacoa tacos, potatoes with chorizo, and re-fried beans. This platter was a big plate of ethnic breakfast love, and was simply very well done. The eggs were over medium, and cooked right (yolks still runny but whites firm and not slimy). Chorizo is one of my favorite sausages, and mixed with diced potatoes was a terrific side. The beans were pretty standard fare, but I enjoyed them with breakfast, and the highlight of the dish was the tender, well-seasoned beef barbacoa tacos. It was a great, filling meal for a great price!
Mrs. Grub Guy ordered the Moyetes ($5.95), a grilled French roll topped with re-fried beans, tons of chorizo, cheese, red onion and tomatoes, and was served with a side of breakfast potatoes and a dollop of sour cream. I tried a couple of bites of her breakfast, and was honestly a little jealous that I didn’t order this dish first! The roll was fresh and toasted nicely, and the beans, meat, cheese, and fresh veggies piled on top sort of made me think of some kind of Mexican French bread breakfast pizza. It’s the kind of plate that you might look at and wonder if it would be filling – I mean, after all…the base is just bread. Trust me, it was fantastic! She ate half of it before tapping out and boxing the rest.
Another random splash of color
We really enjoyed this breakfast as a family, at Cuco’s Taqueria. To be honest, it might not be the kind of breakfast that fits everyone’s tastes – Refried beans first thing in the morning? Mexican rice? Taco and burritos? I can see how some folks might not go for it. But if you’re an adventurous eater, I think it’s definitely worth the effort to check out Cuco’s.
The restaurant is clean and colorful, the staff and servers were friendly and helpful, the food was delicious and the prices were cheap. All good things when scouting out a local breakfast stop. Give them a try.
And try those pickled veggies on the salsa bar. They’re fantastic!
Cuco’s Taqueria is located at 2162 Henderson Rd, Columbus, OH 43220 (Map). They’re open Monday – Saturday, 8:00 am – 10:00 pm. For more info, you can find them on Facebook, Twitter, or check out their website.