A new Mexican restaurant in town is music to my ears.

Driving home down Forest Hills the other day I saw that a new restaurant was going into the strip mall on the corner of Forest Hills and River Lane. The last thing I remember being in that location was Big Poppa's BBQ and I'm not sure what was in there before that.

Now here's the bad news. This is all I can find about it. There wasn't anymore information on the building and I can't find anything about it online. There are two other Taqueria Aztecas in the area, one in Beloit and one in Woodridge, I called them to see if they were connected at all and they said that they weren't.

So, I turn to the public. Does anyone have any idea when this is supposed to open? I love that they are going to be serving birria tacos as a specialty. Birria is the hottest "new" taco in America over the last 18 months. I'm not sure where it latched on in the states but its popularity has exploded since the beginning of 2020.

And if you haven't had one before you're missing out. They're not the healthiest option on the menu but if you find a good one, the cholesterol and calories are worth it.

Fortunately, there are plenty of excellent options in town to tide us over until Azteca opens up. Here, in no particular order, are 5 of my favorite taco joints in town.

  • Javy's Tacos - I said no particular order but if I could only keep one this would be it. It operates out of the kitchen at CJ's in downtown Rockford and serves up excellent steak, chicken, and chorizo on freshly made tortillas. They're only available on Tuesdays for lunch and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday after 5PM.
  • Guanatajo Market - The taqueria in the back of this grocery store by Marinelli Field has some of the biggest, overly stuffed tacos in town. And they're delicious.
  • Mi Ranchito - Located right next door to the above Guanatajo Market. I challenge any city in Illinois to find two better Mexican restaurants that close to each other.
  • Los Portales - A few blocks east of the river on State St, Los Portales has been around for a while for a good reason. A wonderful late night stop if you're enjoying the downtown area.
  • El Pueblo - Located near Broadway and 20th St. Great food and make sure you check out the connected bakery that fills the place with wonderful smells.


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