A long long time ago, when everything was closed on Sunday and riding in the back of dad’s pickup was standard means of summer transportation for the kids, Russellville restaurant options were limited. Nowadays, it’s difficult to appreciate just how limited those options were even for those of us who grew up with them.
Finding a history of Mexican/ Tex-Mex restaurants in the River Valley is difficult. I had to call on the services of my Facebook network of friends to pin down names and dates. The best timeline we could piece together starts with Señor Bob’s, which was located in the former Taco Villá on El Paso. We weren’t sure when Señor Bob’s went out of business, but from that closed business sprang a food icon of the River Valley: Taco Villá. The El Paso location is closed now, but 4th street is still going strong and still packed to the rafters at lunchtime.
You think “icon” is a bit much? Consider that Taco Villá has it’s own Facebook group page (not a company page), of which I am a proud member, with comments like: “This is the first place I go when I come to Russellville for a visit. And jars of hot sauce come back to Colorado with me….lol.” When is the last time you’ve heard someone refer to a food craving as “getting their fix,” again from the FB group page: “OH YEA GOT MY TACO Villá FIX TODAY!!! IT WAS AWESOME!”
Taco Villá has been a constant in my life as a child of the River Valley. It was my introduction to Tex-Mex food. I remember mom letting me try a bite of meat and bean burrito when I was about five. I remember Friday nights cruising 4th Street, window down in my 69 Chevy truck with the wind blowing through my mullet and a meat and bean burrito in my hand.
The essence of Taco Villá is captured in that meat and bean burrito. Spicy meat, refried beans, crammed with cheese, sour cream and then covered in that mouth-watering hot sauce that I could drink by the gallon.
And suddenly, I need to get my Taco Villá fix.