(Taqueria del Sol in Decatur – 359 W Ponce de Leon Avenue. Do I spy someone wearing crocs? What the heck?!)
Somehow the Soup Nazi was still in business during Seinfeld's hay day. He bossed people around and shouted, "no soup for you." Somehow, people still returned in droves.
I am similarly la moth to the flame when it comes to Taqueria del Sol.
It's the restaurant I love to hate. These folks are the modern Atlanta taco Nazis. They dole out rules as fast as they hawk out delicious, affordable tacos, enchiladas and yes… soups/chilis.
For Taqueria virgins, allow me to explain. Noshing on a taco gets complicated when you patronize this joint. They have more rules than setting up a Catholic wedding.
A few rules of taco engagement at Taqueria (all are based on personal experience):
1. You cannot save a table for you and/or your friends until you've ordered. I can respect this rule, mostly. Order, then go get yourself a table, friend.
2. If you have friends meet you there, they should go to the back of the line, and you cannot save a table that fits all of you. Again, this is pretty standard (though it would be nice if they granted an occasional exception on saving a table big enough for your whole crew).
3. If you want to order takeout, you can only order FIVE (5) items (total). Want two Carnitas, one Memphis, one Fish Taco, Guac/Chips and a cup of Corn Chowder? Too bad. That totals to be six items and you will only be allowed to order five items. Total. Not six items, not seven items. FIVE total. Pick five things you love and deal with it.
4. If you want to order takeout, you must wait until the person ordering takeout in front of you is completely done. That means if I, Katy, want to order takeout and some random dude named Joe is ordering takeout before me, I have to wait until Joe has 1) ordered his five items max 2) paid for his items 3) been handed his items before I can even speak to the bartender/cashier about takeout. Deal with it.
5. My all time favorite rule… if you have friends waiting in line and you have already ordered, you cannot (I repeat, cannot!) bring your friends in line any food you've already bought. I tried to bring my brother and sister some chips and salsa we'd already ordered and paid for. The results weren't pretty. I handed my sibs a plate and a manager quickly came over and sternly said, "excuse me! You cannot give them chips and salsa to eat while they're in line!" I must have been clearly dumfounded. "What do you mean?" I asked. The response: "Because then EVERYBODY ELSE in line would want chips and salsa!" (ummm… not my problem)
Also, it's not a rule, but they are not open on Sundays.
All these things considered, I cannot stay away. The tacos are cheap ($2.35), the sides are delicious (spicy turnip greens or beans, anyone?) and the salsas/guac/queso divine. The salsa trio is really quite magical with three different types of salsa served with chips for about five bucks. TDS' shrimp corn chowder doesn't mess around — and the pork green chili often makes it onto my order. (Note: no max on number of items for eat-in). Yum. Taqueria has a weekly feature that often hits the spot, such as the "cheeseburger taco:" a delicious ground beef taco with spicy yellow queso. Dinner for two including a drink per each will probably only set you back about $30. (Explore the menu here.)
You actually ARE allowed to skip the line and order a margarita, glass of wine or beer from the bartender (not the cashier) while you wait. Just be polite.
Despite all the rules, I recommend you give Taqueria a try.
Taqueria del Sol has three locations in the metro Atlanta area (Decatur, West Midtown and Cheshire Bridge) and one in Athens. The restaurant web site indicates that additional locations are coming soon in Gainesville, Orlando and Jacksonville, Florida, as well as Philadelphia.
Taqueria del Sol restaurant home page here. Yelp reviews here.