The Midland-Odessa Taco Trail – Texas Monthly

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West Texas’s reputation as the land of crunchy tacos, kitchen-sink burritos, and bulky combo platters is well-earned. These are the high-calorie foods of the hardworking folks of the oil patch. The region’s sister cities, Midland and Odessa, offer them aplenty. However, Midland surprises with a vibrant taco truck scene, with many of the trucks parked on and around Big Spring Street.

El Taco Tako

This cash-only, counter-order joint is worn around the edges, with faded, hand-painted signage. The tortillas are fresh, though, and they’re best in the form of burritos packed with guisos, such as chile relleno, green chile pork, and barbacoa, as well as with all manner of breakfast options. 718 W. Clements, Odessa, 432-333-5731.

Elva’s Taco Casa

Another aged joint—this one established by owner Elva Porras nearly forty years ago—is also decorated with hand-painted signage. The cursive “Elva’s” is a touch of flourish for an otherwise no-fuss place. The menu is small, consisting of little more than tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. The tacos feature freshly fried corn tortillas cradling lightly seasoned shredded beef or chicken and generous portions of lettuce and tomatoes. 807 Royalty Avenue, Odessa, 432-333-2831.

La Loncheria & Tortilleria

Cash-only spots abound in the Midland-Odessa area, and they’re worth running to the ATM, especially for La Loncheria. The thirty-year-old luncheonette and burrito joint shares a space with a piñata workshop and sits next to a social hall. Chihuahua native and former oil-field worker Ramiro Bustamante owns the whole block, and arrives at about 3 a.m. to start prepping juicy discada and cheesy chile rellenos wrapped in house-made flour tortillas. 1605 S. Main, Midland, 432-570-4620.

Martinez Bakery

The wall of bright pan dulce beckons lovers of Mexican breakfast like sirens to sailors. Place a selection of conchas, cuernos, marranitos, churros, and empanadas onto a plastic tray, then walk up to the counter and add a taco de barbacoa. The fatty, delectable meat is topped with wedges of avocado and slices of Roma tomatoes. 206 E. Florida Avenue, Midland, 432-683-3100.

Mexico on Wheels

Adjacent to 77-year-old Porter’s grocery store, this mainstay of Midland’s taco truck scene has been slinging mini tacos for years. The tacos al pastor are adobo-heavy and chile-forward. Owner José Gomez’s beef-cheek barbacoa is lean but punchy with flavor. For a heftier meal, spring for the Mexican burger, which is topped with a split frank. 703 E. Front, Midland, 432-853-3106.

Oscar’s Super Burritos

When it comes to Midland burrito shops, Oscar’s reigns supreme. Most business is done via the drive-through window, but we recommend dining inside. The dining room walls are covered with framed photos of local high school sports teams, and large, printed menus overtake the ordering counter. One thing to note is that these burritos are open at the ends, which is a feat, considering how stuffed the rolled flour tortillas are. The Oscar’s special—named after owner Geraldo Oscar—is jammed with scrambled eggs, sausage, chorizo, beans, rice, chile con queso, and hash browns or fries. More impressive is the Lee High Coach—the breakfast burrito that bears the original name of Legacy High School—which has cheese-filled chile relleno, bacon, egg, sausage, chile con queso, ham, beans, sour cream, and hash browns or fries. It’s a glorious mess, and one where all the textures and flavors play nicely. 4306 Neely Avenue, Midland, 432-699-0242.

The Tacoriendo food truck in Midland. Photograph by José R. Ralat


For fifteen years, Tacoriendo has offered knockout regional specialties like tacos tapatíos: flautas piled high with gleaming crumbles of queso fresco served regular and ranchero. The latter drenches the flautas in a sweet tomato-based salsa. Lettuce, tomatoes, strings of raw white onions, and a scoop of guacamole are served on the side. 408 W. Taylor Avenue, Midland, 432-312-0648.

Taqueria El Dollar #2

In the nine years since the first Taqueria El Dollar opened in Midland, the brand has grown to include three trucks. Number 2 sports a brand-new wrap with an anthropomorphic rolled taco. It looks flashy, but the food coming out of the four-wheeled kitchen is straightforward. Carne asada tacos offer a classic taste, while the beef birria tacos appeal to trendier palates. The birria tacos come with a fiery consommé perfect for the occasional blast of windy winter temperatures that come through the area. 1215 N. Midkiff Road, Midland, 432-770-3827.

Taqueria El Real

This dark-green truck is easy to miss among the myriad mobile rigs that line Big Spring Street, but it’s another dependable choice. The carnitas’ threads of pork are pleasantly salty with darkened edges, and the soft, mild lengua is chopped and topped with sprinkles of cilantro and onions. Meanwhile, the crispy mulita features two toasted tortillas filled with a meat of your choice (the carne asada is a no-fail selection) and melted cheese. 1800 N. Big Spring, Midland, 432-599-3693.

Twister Tacos

Housed in a former fast-food joint, this family-owned taqueria showed up on our radar in 2015. It impressed us then with its chile relleno taco platter, called the Capón. And it continues to excite us with its crimson al pastor and crunchy tripe. Relish the impressive salsa bar, which includes a colorful spectrum of salsas varying in spiciness, and garnishes like cilantro, onions, limes, and radishes. 3601 Andrews Highway, Odessa, 432-363-1701.

Tacos from Wall St. Cocina in Midland. Photograph by José R. Ralat

Wall St. Cocina

Established mere months before the pandemic, the Leyba family’s downtown Midland restaurant has since sprouted a new location in Odessa’s Music City Mall food court. However, it’s the original spot that keeps us coming back for birria. Based on a recipe from their Guadalarajan cook, who subs beef for the traditional goat or lamb meat, the birria’s broth is rich, belly-warming, and, most importantly, not capped with archipelagos of fat. Also noteworthy is the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos–spiked burrito milenio. It’s filled with a protein of your choice (again, go for the carne asada), cheese, guacamole, sour cream, and, of course, the crunchy cheese chips beloved by millennials. 703 W. Wall, Midland, 432-247-1440.

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