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Taqueria El Rinconsito is opening another Pierce County location. I’ve got the opening date

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Puyallup diners, here is big taco news. Taqueria El Rinconsito is opening its newest Pierce County location Friday, March 6. It will be located close to South Hill Mall at 305 39th Ave. SW, Puyallup. It’s across the street and down a half block from Sushi Ari and The Hub.

The March 6 opening party will come with steep menu discounts and door prizes. There also will be live music. UPDATE: The restaurant had a soft opening on March 5 and officially opened the doors March 6, 2020. It is now open!

TAQUERIA EL RINCONSITO SOUTH HILL MENU

As I reported earlier this month, the co-owners of Taqueria El Rinconsito are Abel Brambila and Lupe Guzmán. The duo founded the restaurant company in 1997 in downtown Kent and have since opened more than a dozen locations from Tacoma to Everett and all the way to Yakima.

“The menu and formula are still the same as in any other location,” said Brambila and Guzmán of the South Hill location. They said to expect everything the Tacoma location offers. The Taqueria El Rinconsito in Tacoma is at 7210 Pacific Ave.

The menu at Taqueria El Rinconsito is built for speed and portability. The menu lists the usual taqueria dishes: tacos, burritos, enchiladas, sopitos, mulitas, gorditas, quesadillas, flautas, taquitos, a selection of seafood, as well as chicken and steak plates. Many of the menu items fall in the under-$10 category, but the combination plates and seafood skew around $13-$15 at the Tacoma location.

Here’s where bargain hunters will be intrigued. Taqueria El Rinconsito is known for its $5.49 daily special and that will also be offered at the South Hill location, said Brambila and Guzmán.

If you order one thing at the taqueria, make it the carnitas tacos, which always come topped with chopped onions, fresh cilantro, house salsa and a side of grilled onions and jalapenos. And don’t forget a trip through the salsa bar.

And, oh, salsa bar lovers, you are going to love the salsa bar at Taqueria El Rinconsito. There’s usually always escabeche, those delicious pickled carrots with sliced onions and whole pickled jalapenos; quartered limes and sliced radishes; cabbage pico de gallo and always a roja and verde salsa, plus one or two more fresh salsas.

Salsa bar
The salsa bar at Taqueria El Rinconsito in Tacoma.

There are two accessories that set apart Taqueria El Rinconsito’s salsa bar at the Tacoma location: you can help yourself to paper cartons to load up on as much escabeche as you can carry. There are also plastic cups with lids so you can pack yourself a tour of salsa and take it with you. Portability is imperative for eating taqueria food on the go.

Will there be beer? Nope. Just soft drinks. Here’s something unexpected for Puyallup. Taqueria El Rinconsito will close at midnight weekdays and 3 a.m. weekends. Restaurants open that late in South Hill are a rare find. Outside of Pho Tai by Ivar’s, there’s slim pickings after midnight.

dining room
The dining room at the Tacoma Taqueria El Rinconsito will be similar to the dining room at the South Hill location.

HEADING INSIDE, A QUICK LOOK

Expect the South Hill taqueria to carry the same sort of casual interior as the Tacoma location, which has seating for more than 50.

A signature amenity of Taqueria El Rinconsito is that they’re usually built in spaces that have ample parking, which I suppose is to be expected in a suburban location like South Hill. The Puyallup location comes with parking in the front and back of the restaurant.

FIND TAQUERIA EL: RINCONSITO: 305 39th Ave. SW, Puyallup, https://www.elrinconsito.com/index.php/locations

SOUTH HILL SHORT ON THESE KINDS OF RESTAURANTS

What’s remarkable about this South Hill opening is that it will be the ONLY fast-casual taqueria of its kind in South Hill. And that’s weird because with so many families in South Hill looking for quick dining, why aren’t there more locally grown restaurants like these operating there? I’m not talking sit-down family Mexican-American restaurants because South Hill has those: Two Mazatlan Restaurants and a Mis Tres Amigos operate restaurants with table service in South Hill and Frederickson. Those come with the usual mariachi soundtrack and a standard list of combo plates and giant margaritas, with full-service restaurant prices included (this is not cheap eating). Picazzo’s Taco Zone on Meridian and El Toro on Canyon are slightly more upscale versions of Mexican-American family restaurants with table service. They’re also more expensive.

But a fast-casual taqueria where you order at the counter and you’re out quickly for under ten bucks – like at Tacoma’s Taqueria El Sabor, Tacos Guaymas or Taqueria El Grande? The closest of that kind of restaurant to South Hill is in Graham (Julianito’s). And have you driven Meridian at dinner time? Nobody wants to drive to Graham and fight all that traffic. This is a major score for South Hill.

Los Amigos Taqueria has had a sign up for month and months, but still has not opened in South Hill.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TACO TRUCK

It’s about time South Hill got one of these fast-casual taquerias because South Hill lost its only restaurant like this more than a year ago and readers keep asking me, “What’s going on?”

I wish I had more information. When the outstanding taco truck Los Amigos closed at its longtime home in the parking lot of the gas station at 11802 Meridian, a sign went up announcing Los Amigos would move to a brick-and-mortar location at 4215 S. Meridian, the former home of the New China Buffet.

But so far, that hasn’t happened. The restaurant’s signs are on the building and work clearly has been done, but it’s been sitting unopened for more than six months. Multiple calls and messages have not yielded any new information. I’ll report back if I hear any news. I don’t have a lot of hope.

But here is hope for higher-quality Mexican eats: South Hill is getting an outpost of Fiesta Taqueria.

Fiesta Taqueria Puyallup
Fiesta Taqueria and Tequila Bar in downtown Puyallup.

FIESTA TAQUERIA SOUTH HILL

Fiesta Taqueria is planning to open in South Hill in a location that has hosted three other restaurants in as many years (Roadrunner Bourbon and Burger House + Speakeasy Lounge, Napoli Italiano and PNW Grill).

However, all the details of Fiesta Taqueria’s second location are still under discussion. The South Hill location will be an outpost of the original downtown Puyallup Fiesta Taqueria. That restaurant features a sizable tequila bar and a menu of classic taqueria eats, but with table service. It’s also known for hosting free dinners for members of the military and first responders.

Will the new Fiesta Taqueria on South Hill be more of a casual-style taqueria where diners order at the counter and find their own seat? “Right now we are still in discussion for how the second location will be set up,” a company spokesperson said via message. I hope to have more details soon.

Dock Street Deli

COMING SOON: A WATERFRONT DELI

Tacoma’s Foss Waterway neighborhood will soon have a deli. The cafe will cater to lunchtime crowds with pastrami sandwiches, soups and salads. This is not an East Coast style deli. It’s got a Northwest backbone with sandwiches that have cool flavor flourishes. Check out the story here.

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