In a land of iconic taquerias, Tacos El Franc is legendary. The taco shop became a Tijuana institution even before opening its first brick-and-mortar in 1996, when Javier Valadez began slinging tacos from a small cart and quickly earned a cult following.
It’s been featured on Netflix’s Taco Chronicles, and the tacos have been dubbed the best in the world by TikTok and people with extremely good taste (me). Tijuana locals and hungry Americans crowd the curbside eatery from the minute it opens until closing, and if you’ve ever had the chance to taste one of the mouthwateringly tender cabeza tacos or overstuffed quesadillas con carne, you’ll understand why.
Now you won’t need a passport to crush their carne asada. Tacos El Franc will open their first location in the US at the Westfield Plaza Bonita mall this summer, replacing Funky Fries & Burgers at 3030 Plaza Bonita Road, Suite No. 1108. Convincing the taqueria’s owners to enter the US market took 20 years, admits managing partner Roberto “Robe” Kelly.
“[Tacos El Franc] is, essentially, the highest grossing taqueria in Baja,” Kelly explains. “They didn’t really need the US market.” But the time has finally come, and he says once they open their doors, that will only be the beginning of an “aggressive expansion,” going wherever people have “an appetite for tacos.”
“One of our primary goals is to bring the exact flavor that you can have when you cross the border,” he adds. “We’re going to make it easier and bring it to them.”
When Tacos El Franc opens in June or July of 2024, I invite brave readers to join me in a taco-eating contest. No matter what, we all win.
More National City news! Friends of Friends is almost open on 8th Street, with promises of coffee, booze, music, and of course, friendship.
If one more coffee shop launches in North Park, I’m going to lose my mind. Other neighborhoods need caffeine, too! Please?