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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with authentic Mexican tacos at one of these 5 places in Hall County
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Steak and chicken tacos smothered in melted cheese from Restaurant El Guero. - photo by Kelsey Podo

Over the past few days, taquerias in Hall County have strategically geared up for one of their busiest days of the year — Cinco de Mayo. 

In the U.S., May 5 has become a day of revelry and consuming inordinate amounts of tacos, margaritas and other beloved Mexican dishes.

Gustavo Godinez Jr., who co-owns Big Burritos Mexican Grill in Oakwood, said despite its popularity with Americans, the day isn’t a federal holiday in Mexico, nor is it widely celebrated in the country. May 5 commemorates Mexico’s victory over the French in the 1862 Battle of Puebla. Mexico’s Independence Day is Sept. 16. 

“People made it a big deal up here (U.S.) just so they could sell a lot of tequila and beer,” Godinez, whose family is from Mexico, said. “It’s a lot of fun. We have nothing against it.”

To help community members on their Cinco de Mayo hunt for delicious Mexican food, The Times has compiled a list of the top five places in Hall to find authentic tacos. We're not talking about your Tex-Mex hard-shell, ground beef and cheese tacos topped with tomatoes, lettuce and sour cream. These tacos are the real deal. Think corn flour tortillas and shredded meat amplified with onions, cilantro and a sprinkle of lime juice. 

These local spots are listed in no particular order. We love them all. 

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Best tacos in the universe? El Carreton Mexican Taqueria, a roadside taco and torta shop on Atlanta Highway, boasts just that, including these tacos al pastor, left, and steak tacos, pictured Tuesday, Dec. 18. - photo by Kelsey Podo
El Carreton Mexican Taqueria

This little pink food truck attached to a shack on Atlanta Highway has been serving fresh tacos in Gainesville since 1994. El Carreton boasts the title of “best tacos and tortas in the universe,” and many who live in the area support this bold claim. 

The meat is cradled by two fresh corn tortillas and topped with cilantro, lime juice and onions. People can choose authentic fillings like steak, chicken, chorizo, pork, frankfurter, barbacoa and more. The tacos are best enjoyed outside on a sunny day, sitting at one of the vibrantly painted picnic tables.

Where: 608 Atlanta Highway, Gainesville

Hours: 9-1 a.m. Sunday-Thursday; 9-3 a.m. Friday and Saturday 

Price: Two tacos ranging from $4.29-$5.19

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Big Burritos in Oakwood offers a range of taco options varying in filling and tortilla styles. - photo by Kelsey Podo
Big Burritos Mexican Grill 

Owned by the Godinez family, who used to run El Griton off Atlanta Highway, Big Burritos Mexican Grill offers a wide selection of customizable tacos. Gustavo Godinez Jr. said the corn, flour and hard-shell tortillas are made from scratch every day. Some of the fillings include grilled chicken, steak, beef, pork and birria de res, beef that’s been braised for hours in “secret sauce.” This scrumptious, melt-in-your-mouth birria recipe was passed down from Godinez’s great-grandfather. 

“You’ve got all kinds of textures, flavors and tortillas,” he said. “It can be any kind of meat or any kind of tortilla with any kind of toppings.”

Where: 3652 Wallis Road, Oakwood

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Price: Three tacos ranging from $8.45-$9.25

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Two fresh corn-flour-tortilla tacos from Taqueria El Antojito, one filled with chicken and the other with beef tongue. - photo by Kelsey Podo
Taqueria El Antojito

Taqueria El Antojito doesn’t shy away from embracing the flavors of Mexico with beef tongue, tripita (cow intestines), chorizo and other meat fillings. The tacos come served on two corn flour tortillas with cilantro, onions and lime. People have the option of adding green or red salsa.

Karen Lopez, who works at the business, said the restaurant has been in operation for 15 years and was originally located on Atlanta Highway. 

“People will go into Mexican restaurants, and it’s kind of Tex-Mex,” Lopez said. “But here it’s more authentic.”

Where: 3602 Southland Drive, Flowery Branch

Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m. to midnight Friday; 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday

Price: $1.49-$2.25 per taco

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Steak and chicken tacos smothered in melted cheese from Restaurant El Guero. - photo by Kelsey Podo
Restaurant El Guero

This diamond in the rough is worth seeking out. Restaurant El Guero is tucked away inside a supermarket off Pearl Nix Parkway. Don’t let the location fool you -- this tiny place doesn’t play around when it comes to tacos. 

The customer favorites include the chicken and steak options. Unlike many places that serve Mexican street tacos, this one smothers the meat with melted cheese. If your server asks if you want cheese, say yes. 

Where: Inside Supermercado Carrillo El Guero, 730 Pearl Nix Parkway, Gainesville

Hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday; 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Price: Around $1 per taco

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Hot out of the foil, the tacos from Taqueria El Mercadito are fresh and tasty, earning the local restaurant the respect, and business, of the Gainesville community.
Taqueria El Mercadito

If you’re in the market for a top-notch street taco that never disappoints, pop by Taqueria El Mercadito in Gainesville. 

When you enter the restaurant, the smell of cooked meat will seize your senses. Some of the taco filling options include chorizo; beef tongue, called lengua in Spanish; pork stomach, called buche; pork skin, called cueritos; and other selections. The flavors are brightened with the addition of cilantro, onion and lime juice. 

Where: 275 Pearl Nix Parkway, Gainesville

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Closed Monday-Wednesday

Price: Around $2 per taco