“I always thought you made it when you have a place there,” says Julian Hakim, who co-owns The Taco Stand with Aram Baloyan. The San Diego-based Mexican restaurant just opened at the base of the Lotus apartment complex at the corner of Spring Mountain Road and Procyon Street in the Shops at Lotus in Chinatown with a menu of Tijuana-style tacos and California burritos.
In San Diego, fans stand in long lines to get the dishes Hakim and Balayan grew up eating in Tijuana. The duo opened the first The Taco Stand in San Diego in 2013 after they found themselves driving to their hometown of Tijuana to pick up tacos.
The original plan was to bring a late-night restaurant that drew on industry workers just getting off their shift. “We’re going to play that part by ear,” Hakim says.
The tight menu features six options — carne asada, al pastor, pollo asado, camaron, pescado, and nopal tacos — with corn tortillas made in house as they’re ordered. Burritos, carne asada fries, and quesadillas round out the menu. A salsa bar features everything from super spicy habanero to chipotle and cilantro sauces. Customers can pick up hot peppers, carrots, and pico de gallo.
Even the churros are made as they are ordered. The Taco Stand also makes its own paletas in strawberry, mango, Oreo cookie, and pistachio.
The Taco Stand, 3616 Spring Mountain Road, 702-268-8762. Open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight.