Taco Cat: Is the bike delivery taco good enough for its own restaurant?

Taco Cat: It's all legit now, with a sign, a cash register, and everything.

Taco Cat: It's all legit now, with a sign, a cash register, and everything.

Taco Cat, despite the lack of a storefront, a kitchen, or even a coherent website, enjoyed instant success when they put up a Twitter post a couple years ago that simply read: “Call number. Get tacos.” 

While their origins were sketchy (they probably weren’t using a commercial kitchen), no one really cared. What people wanted were tacos delivered by guys on bikes. Even in the winter. That’s what Taco Cat provided.

They eventually moved to the Midtown Global Market, where they shared a kitchen space. Now they’re a full-fledged business with signage, a cash register, the works.

We wondered if their food stands up as that of a fully formed restaurant now that they’re not just hipsters on bikes.

The Midtown Global Market is ground zero for good Mexican food. Los Ocampo offers a comprehensive menu from gorditas to huaraches. Manny’s Tortas has the best spicy, drippy Mexican sandwich in town. It’s also where Sonora Grill, that powerhouse that tops every Mexican food list in town, got its start.

How do the white kids on bikes compete, now that they have a boring old straight business like everyone else?

The specialty tacos menu really shines.

The specialty tacos menu really shines.

Pretty well, judging from the lines at a weekday lunch hour.

Like any good taco joint, Taco Cat keeps its offerings tight. There are just seven flavors, each available in taco or burrito form, plus a few sides.

The “standard” side of the menu lists the old stalwarts: steak, pork, and chicken, each paired simply with onion, cilantro, crema, and salsa. There’s also a veggie and gluten-free taco with refried beans, cojita cheese, corn pico, radish, cilantro, and crema that can be made vegan.

But it’s the “specialty” side of the menu where Taco Cat really shows off. The Outlaw is packed with dewy pulled pork, then a funky blast of kimchee, hot pickled jalapeño, the surprising sweet tang of apple slaw, and a solid salsa verde.

The Ruckus was even better, with fat fingers of grilled flank steak, bright and assertive pickled radish, and chimichurri buzzing with fresh herbs and garlic.

Each taco is generously proportioned on doubled-up corn tortillas. A pair makes a satiating lunch. A side of creamy black beans and rice with a generous portion of limey guacamole doesn’t hurt either.

The cooks are still sporting their bike hats, and the food was delivered swift and hot, despite the crowds.

Prices for tacos remain in the very reasonable $2.99 to $3.75 range, and fat burritos designed to put you out for a nap are $7.99 to $9.99.

Now that they’re all legit, it doesn’t mean Taco Cat have ceased with their original mission. They still deliver tacos by bike, through all kinds of weather, until 11 p.m. nightly.

Call number, get tacos: 612-723-5388.

Taco Cat

920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis