A Taste Of Tijuana On The Avenue
Who needs Tijuana, when John and Jill Crino bring a little bit of Tequila, Spanish Mexican style food, authentic daily homemade sauces, colorful artistry, and southern hospitality to Lakewood? Taco Tontos, situated in Bird Town, on Madison Avenue is a family-owned business that offers up more than the large chains and franchises can compete with.
I walked into Taco Tontos last Monday night with a friend around 5:30 before the Monday night Browns game against San Francisco, to grab some grub. Sarah, the waitress greeted us warmly, and was beyond knowledgeable about the menu. She explained the Margaritas are made with all fresh-squeezed ingredients, music to my ears (that Lemix stuff most places serve is nasty), and I had a choice of a sugared or salted rim. Looking over the choices I was torn between Blackberry or Mango, she swayed me toward Blackberry. For those brave of heart, there’s also a Habanero Margarita, not for me.
The menu offers Vegetarian, Vegan, and Gluten Free options. All their meats, sauces, salsas, and guacs are made fresh daily. Their house guacamole is made with sour cream, “sold,” I said. The choices were plentiful, from tacos, burritos, burrito bowls, tostados, and quesadillas.
Sarah explained you could add or take-away items as well. Since I was planning on watching the Browns game later, I decided to go with the “biggie” size, only a buck more. I ordered the Cheeburgerito, which came with beef, lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheese, pickles, onions, and potatoes, all this inside of the burrito. Skip the potatoes, and tomatoes. Now to dig into the guac, which I devoured in record time, need I say more.
Our food came, I dug in, careful to save half of my Cheeseburgerito for half-time of the game. I chatted with Sarah a bit, she’s been with the place as long as the place has been in Lakewood, seven years now. There is an “industry appreciation night” on Wednesdays, from 11-10pm serving $2 cans of Modelo, $2 shots of Cuervo, and $4 Mini-Margaritas, along with mini-appetizers.
The huge mural on the wall before the kitchen has the feel that you may actually be sipping Cuervo in Tijuana. There’s a back dining room to accommodate the overflow on the weekends, and a full-service bar, stocked with top-shelf liquors and craft beers.
When you wake up “feeling dangerous” head over to the avenue, order a shot of Cuervo or a Habanero Margarita, and then peruse the menu to round out your day. Hours: Mon-Thurs: 11-10pm Fri & Sat:11-12am Closed: Sun. 13321 Madison 216-221-4479
Eva Starr recently moved back to her heartland state of Ohio, after the transition of her mother. Starr spent the last ten years in San Diego digesting the alluring buffet of wisdom the West Coast had to offer. While there she attended the San Diego Culinary Institute, and worked as a chef in San Diego.
Starr also published her book Quit ‘Should-ing’ on Yourself, while in San Diego featured at the 2016 LA Times Book Festival, and Oprah Winfrey’s Reading Room.
She continues to follow her metaphysical path, teaching Astrology, hosting her television show Reach for the Moon, and exploring the diversified culinary delights Lakewood has to offer.