There has been a lot of buzz coming from the far-end Heights about a taqueria serving up some mad heat. An eatery with a “De Los Muertos” vibe and an extensive list of primetime tacos. 

Tako Ten, operated by co-owner and chef Dominic Valenzuela, is whipping up some food straight out of the Baja. It’s not your average Mexican food. With a little more zest and pop, it’s going to have you questioning your loyalty to New Mexican cuisine.

The young taqueria opened its doors on Aug. 17 after Valenzuela transitioned from a food truck to the brick-and-mortar shop. Valenzuela’s former food truck, “Dia de Los Takos”, was a hit,  displaying a similar menu to his new venture.

“My first dive into entrepreneurship was based around one taco, a fish taco to be exact,” Valenzuela explains. “I had this creativity that needed to be released, so I would do like ‘taco of the day’ to give myself the ability to create without any bounds. It became a kind of a trend and stuck with me.”

And it paid off. Valenzuela gained partners interested in investing in his product and emphasizing his creativity as their selling point. With no handcuffs on Valenzuela’s creativity and Tako Ten’s mission to achieve a delicious product, the establishment is off to a hot start.

When a new taco joint pops up, I automatically ask the proprietor, “Why?” It seems like a flooded industry. Yet, to come out and transition to the next step is impressive. And the food? Delicious.

The best dish on the menu is called the “Tako Ten Line-Up.” A list of tacos that will garner what the mouth is watering for. Fish, meat, chicken and veggies, you name it: Tako Ten has you covered. Even if you’re a meat-eater, try the Battered Avocado Tako ($3.50). Fried avocado, topped with their slaw and crema, it’s so damn good it will make your head spin. 

If you’re looking for the perfect sidekick on those tacos, try the Baja Fries ($9.50). It’s a messy dish containing sweet potato and russet fries, crema, cheese sauce and guacamole. It’s just your average nacho fires—that will kick your ass.

Of course, the taqueria has dealt with many of the same issues all New Mexico eateries are dealing with during the pandemic.

“We’ve had struggles, mostly with not having enough hands on deck,” Valenzuela says. “There are fewer restaurants but the same amount of customers. It’s hard to forecast when it comes to scheduling.”

One thing Tako Ten should be proud of is not having to limit their menu. In this climate, many businesses have had to cut back on their food orders, but Valenzuela has added more items to the menu to diversify their selection.

“We follow the trends and the market, staying up-to-date and offer as much as we can to get as many customers as much as possible,” Valenzuela says.

We can’t wait to see what Valenzuela comes up with next. Take a trip up east, sip on a beer and have some great tacos.

Tako Ten

 12501 Candelaria Rd NE Suite B

Neighborhood: Heights

Category: Taquieria

Phone: (505) 508-3518

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Cade Guererro

Cade is young journalist who has worked at publication in Austin, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. He focuses on the cultural topics of Albuquerque.

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