OMG! How had I not heard of Taco Bus until now?! Imagine roaming the streets of Tampa seeking nonexistant vegan food all hours of the night until you finally collapse from a lack of tasty morsels. Then out of the corner of your eye, you see Taco Bus to the rescue! With its four locations including three in Tampa, Taco Bus is growing quicker than you can say, "tacos, please." And the best part is that they have tons of vegan options!
On my first visit to the downtown Tampa location, I was a little disappointed to find that the bus was merely part of a short bus made into a storefront with a full restaurant behind it because I really wanted to see the real bus. On the other hand, I was glad to have a place to sit down and eat.
Taco Bus offers an extensive menu. First, you choose "Your Favorite Way." This includes options for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, salads, Mexican sandwiches, tostadas, and plates. Next, you choose your filling. Vegan options include grilled tofu, vegan "steak" strips, tempeh, butternut squash or just rice, beans, and veggies. Then you choose the veggies you'd like: tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and/or cabbage.
Additionally, they even have a vegan food facts page that details what is vegan and what isn't. The Mexican rice, refried beans, corn and flour tortillas, red and green salsas, and guacamole are all vegan as are the vegan tamales! I am so thankful for this page as many of the people working there do not speak much English. In fact, their slogan is "Broken English, Perfectly Spoken." Ha!
I was so overwhelmed with the choices that I just ordered two tacos--one with grilled tofu and the other with tempeh. They were both better than I could have ever expected. The tofu had this amazing spice on it and it was grilled so well as was the tempeh. I mean, they were both very good. And they were topped with fresh veggies. I put lots of hot green salsa on them and went to town.
I also ordered the refried beans. These were just so-so.
I had such a great experience that I headed to the original East Hillsborough location a couple nights later. Now, this is a serious operation. There was a brick and mortar restaurant along with a white take-out bus and a yellow bus that opens for the late hours so you can get your taco fix 24/7. There was a long line for the take-out bus so I went inside.
Again, I ordered two tacos--this time with butternut squash and steak strips. The butternut squash was okay, but it didn't have much flavor. The vegan steak strips were seasoned like the tofu and tempeh and again, were very good.
I also tried one of their pineapple drinks, which was a bit too sugary for me.
I am so thankful to have found Taco Bus. For $6, I had a better meal than I've ever had in the city of Tampa along with great servers who truly spoke perfect broken English. Taco Bus, you are a godsend.
Taco Bus (several locations)
913 East Hillsborough Avenue
Tampa, FL 33604