by Reade Fenner ‘22
The Northeast corner of Olney-Sandy Spring Road and Georgia Avenue is the center of a bustling Olney intersection. Jerry’s Subs and Pizza used to occupy this venue, but it closed in August of last year because it didn’t get enough business. Taco Bar opened in the place of Jerry’s on August 31 of this year. Taco Bar advertises itself as an authentic Mexican fast food restaurant with flavorful food. It is a small chain with only two other locations in Gaithersburg and Frederick. Taco Bar is also open for breakfast, at 6 a.m. during the week and 10 a.m. on the weekends.
But can Taco Bar distinguish itself from the four other Mexican restaurants in Olney?
To test how Taco Bar measured up, I decided to visit for breakfast and dinner.
First, I went to dinner at around 7 p.m. with my parents. Inside, the decor was modern and sleek, yet still family-friendly and fun, with cheerful, cultural photographs and colorful papel picado banners, which are elaborate designs cut out of pieces of paper commonly hung in the streets of Mexico. This was an improvement from the dirty mirrors and weird lighting that Jerry’s had offered. In contrast, the surfaces of Taco Bar appeared to be very clean for a fast food restaurant. Unfortunately, the restaurant was pretty empty, lowering the energy. However, Taco Bar made up for this by playing upbeat Spanish songs to liven it up.
Taco Bar’s menu is relatively limited, but it does include several vegetarian options. My group ordered a chicken quesadilla, steak tacos, fish tacos, and pork and pineapple tacos.
After ordering at the counter, we sat down at a table. We waited for five minutes before our dishes arrived. They all smelled great and were piping hot. I tasted my chicken quesadilla, which had a great, strong flavor. The steak tacos were fantastic, with authentic corn tortillas that were thick and had lots of meat in each taco. They were wonderfully seasoned and tasted very fresh. My parents’ tacos were both great as well. The food and experience were more authentic than other Mexican fast food places in the area.
Next, I went to Taco Bar for breakfast with my parents and two brothers at around 9:30 on a Saturday morning. The service was great yet again, with the cashiers helping us to understand all that the menu offered. We ordered a breakfast burrito, a breakfast platter, two sincros, which are similar to quesadillas, and a ham and egg sandwich. The meals were all very delicious and fresh, consistent with our dinner experience.
Taco Bar does not disappoint. Its food tasted delicious and fresh, as if it came from a popular fast food truck in Mexico. The restaurant has a smaller menu, but that allows them to specialize on what they create. And, even though it is a fast food restaurant, it didn’t taste like one. The prices were extremely reasonable as well, similar to other Mexican places, despite tasting much more genuine. Compared to other local Mexican restaurants, the service is good, with friendly employees and fantastic, enjoyable food.