In all the years since the award for Charlottesville’s Best Food Truck began, Tacos Gomez has never failed to be a finalist. Just as nineteen-time nominee Susan Lucci eventually won an Emmy, the taco truck’s steadfast consistency has propelled it to the top.
Launched in 2015, Tacos Gomez was originally a part-time gig as a way to bring the food of the Gomez family to the public. “We grew up with women who could really cook and wanted to share that with Charlottesville,” said Miguel Gomez, whose parents Miguel and Leticia own the business. “After trying it part time, we realized that other people really enjoy it as well.” And so, the Gomez family went all in, leaving their other jobs to focus exclusively on Tacos Gomez.
This was an excellent development for Charlottesville diners, as the truck now sets up six days per week at the bottom of Pantops Mountain, where Long St. meets High St. There, they dole out tacos, tortas, and platters drawing on old family recipes that Leticia brought with her to Charlottesville from Mexico City. Almost everything is made from scratch, from the tortillas to the meats that fill them, and even the chorizo.
For tacos, cabeza is a standout. A slow braise breaks down beef cheeks until they are meltingly tender and rich with beefy flavor. Stuffed into handmade tortillas, and topped with cilantro, onions, and hot sauce, morsels of the unctuous beef cheeks anchor one of the most satisfying dishes in town.
But, as good as the tacos are, many regulars are partial to the tortas – ovals of fluffy bread piled high with Swiss cheese, mozzarella, onions, tomato, jalapenos, and avocado, and pressed on a griddle. Customers have their choice of proteins or vegetable fillings, though it’s hard to beat the combination of chorizo and lengua. A side of house hot sauce offsets the richness while adding heat to taste.
Among a stellar group of finalists, the 2022 Charlottesville Best Food Truck is Tacos Gomez.