Every city has an attraction that delineates them from other cities. In many cases, it is murals; in others, it can be a style of architecture. When visiting Concord, California, the defining feature is the Concord Taco Trail; for people like me who have dietary restrictions, it is the Naked Taco Trail.
Several years ago, Visit Concord decided to identify what Concord has a lot to offer. It turns out it is tacos. Tacos resonated and became the signature dish of Concord. During the pandemic, the concept took off because the taco theme helped many local restaurants generate business. The trail is home to approximately 40 unique, family-run, and locally owned restaurants and taquerias. Concord has become East Bay’s go-to destination for authentic Mexican food.
I think the concept is apropos because it highlights the diversity, ethnicity, and importance of family ties in Concord. Most of the taquerias are family owned. First and second generations work together and unify the family connection.
To become a stop on the Concord Taco Trail, the restaurant or taqueria must meet specific qualifications. These include the restaurant or taqueria’s primary business must be Mexican food, their location must be inside the Concord city limits, and they must be a single location or, in some cases, one of a small number of locations. Small national chains are not allowed.
The Concord Taco Trail is divided into four distinct areas within the city. These districts represent specific locations, including Monument Blvd., Todos Santos, Concords’ central plaza, Willow Pass Rd., and Clayton Rd.
Most of the Concord Taco Trail restaurants’ cuisine comes from authentic family recipes specific to different regions in Mexico. Tortilleria El Molino and Mercado Del Sol specialize in Michoacan style food. Others offer Yucatan specialties, Jalisco-style food, or California Mexican. Others offer a combination of regional styles in addition to their specialties. Many offer homemade tortillas created onsite.
For those who love Mexican cuisine, especially tacos, the Concord Taco Trail will wow you. From Al Pastor, Carnitas, and Carne Asada to grilled tilapia, shrimp, vegetarian, and filet mignon, there is something to spark your fancy.
Concord Taco Trail Monument Blvd District
My visit to the Concord Taco Trail took me to the Monument Blvd district, also known as Four Corners. The area is one of the older ones and oozes with ethnicity. Within two blocks, you will find seven restaurants. I sampled three family-run restaurants with a significant emphasis on family. Besides their brick-and-mortar restaurant, many have food trucks that service the Martinez area’s oil refineries and other locations around the East Bay.
I call my encounter with the Concord Taco Trail the Naked Taco Trail because of allergies. I am dairy-free and gluten-free. My tacos lacked cheese and other ingredients but were healthy and delicious. Therefore, I recommend the Concord Taco Trail for those who like their tacos naked without all the condiments.
This is an excerpt from an article I wrote for Wander With Wonder.
Other articles about Concord and the surrounding areas:
Featured photo Courtesy of Visit Concord
Note: Common to the industry, this writer received a hosted meal. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.