tacos at taco circus photo by carmen troesser

10 reasons to join the Taco Circus right now

Taco Circus is a Texan transplant’s dream. Sweating it out on a late-summer day, sitting at colorful picnic tables propped up on bricks to compensate for an uneven sidewalk, you could be scarfing tacos on the east side of Austin instead of Morgan Ford Road in Bevo. Chef-owner Christian Ethridge serves up incredible food at affordable prices with minimal help. Here are 10 reasons you’ll want to shake that man’s hand.


self-serve hot sauce refrigerator at taco circus // photo by meera nagarajan

1. Nothing warms the heart more than a self-serve refrigerator of house-made hot sauces.

2. The Al Pastor de Taco Circus is nothing like the dry, neon pellets of pork that may have disappointed you elsewhere. Tender cubes of Missouri-raised meat, marinated with paprika, oregano, garlic and onion, are sauteed to order and topped with fresh pineapple pico de gallo on tortillas. It’s not traditional. You won’t care.

3. Ethridge does not mess around with shortcuts, as evidenced by his personal recipe for chili powder.

taco circus owner christian ethridge // photo by meera nagarajan

4. But he knows when to accept an advantage, too. Ethridge occasionally pairs up with The Stellar Hog for rich and fall-apart tender, Texas-worthy brisket tacos.

5. Taco Circus’ corn tortillas aren’t doubled up because they don’t have to be. While some paper-thin discs tear at every fold, these hold strong because Ethridge par-cooks them to release steam and sprays them with oil to make them more flexible.

chilaquiles at taco circus // photo by meera nagarajan

6. The chilaquiles: a pile of tortilla chips layered with grilled chicken thigh simmered in tomatillo salsa, sour cream, guacamole, refried beans, cilantro, onions, Monterey Jack cheese and three sunny eggs.

7. The chicken thighs are more like rotisserie than the stringy shredded white meat that sometimes passes as taco-worthy. They’re remarkably flavorful and super moist.

clockwise from left, salsa, cardinal queso and guacamole at taco circus // photo by meera nagarajan

8. Start with the Cardinal Queso, and you won’t be disappointed you can’t finish your meal. A large bowl of queso blanco is topped with ground beef in a fiery New Mexico red chile sauce, beans, salsa and optional guacamole that shouldn’t be optional.

9. The tomatillo cream, a spicy, creamy green hot sauce, is everything – dangerously hot with a fresh, vegetal, chili flavor that brings a lot more than heat.

10. Taco Circus does some serious catering business, which means you can win your next party with trays and trays of taco gold.

Heather Hughes is managing editor at Sauce Magazine.