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Food & Drink

Cinco de Mayo Meets Taco Tuesday

The sight of greasy tacos al pastor, the sound of shaking margaritas, and the feel of reverberating Latin beats take root in New Orleans once more for the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. The holiday, which stems from the Mexican victory against the French during the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, is now an excuse for a fiesta as well as a showing of solidarity with our Southern compadres.

Johnny Sanchez Street Tacos
Street tacos from Johnny Sanchez. (Photo courtesy Graham Blackall)

Some scholars view New Orleans as the northernmost city of Latin America. One only has to remember that the city was under Spanish rule for almost four decades, from 1763-1802, to understand that this is not far from the truth. Though vastly different from Mexico, New Orleans shares its Spanish colonial past.

New Orleans also has a long relationship with Mexico. Benito Juárez, the president of Mexico at the time of the Battle of Puebla, spent two periods of politically induced exile in New Orleans in the 1850s prior to his presidency. Additionally, the Mexican Consulate in New Orleans is one of the oldest Mexican consulates in the United States. It closed in 2002 due to budget cuts but opened once more post-Katrina in 2008 after a large influx of Latino immigrants, including Mexicans, relocated to New Orleans to assist with rebuilding.

So on this Cinco de Mayo, celebramos (let’s celebrate!) a heritage with shared roots and remember Mexico’s gallant victory against the French in 1862. Local Mexican, and even other Latin restaurants will celebrate the holiday with Taco Tuesday specials, drinks, and music around the city. Read on for our top picks.

Casa Borrega Cinco de Mayo
People gather to enjoy live music outside Casa Borrega. (Photo courtesy Casa Borrega on Facebook)

Taco Tuesday Specials

Rum House

The Rum House is a Caribbean-inspired restaurant which on Tuesdays offers $2 tacos from their ever-expanding taco menu. They also have their Island Time happy tour from 3 – 6:30 p.m. with drink specials as low as $2.

Lucy’s Retired Surfer Bar

Lucy’s Retired Surfer Bar in the Warehouse District has Taco Tuesday weekly. Their special includes $1 hard shell beef tacos and runs from  4:00 -11:00 p.m.

Tacos & Beer

If you check out Mexican restaurant Tacos & Beer on an ordinary Tuesday, tacos are $1 all day long. On Cinco de Mayo, however, they’re eschewing taco specials for grander plans. From 6:00 – 9:00 p.m., the rock band ManzaNota will swoon restaurant-goers in Spanish, and during the course of the evening several alcohol companies will host drink giveaways.

Other Taco Specials

Taco Tuesday has a nice ring to it, but plenty of other Latin restaurants in the city offer worthwhile specials for Cinco de Mayo and throughout the year.

Casa Borrega

Casa Borrega, which is co-owned by Mexico City native Hugo Montero, will host its Cinco de Mayo Street Dance Party on Tuesday, May 5. Salsa to the Aaron Lopez Trio from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m., Fredy Omar con su Banda from 8:00-10:00 p.m., and Los Caballeros de Cuba from 10:00 p.m. until midnight. Party favors are promised. No cover.

Johnny Sanchez

Johnny Sanchez, the Mexican restaurant co-owned by John Besh and Aarón Sanchez, will have happy hour from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. on Cinco de Mayo with $5 street tacos and half-price draft beer, house wines, well mixed drinks, and Margarita de la Casa pitchers. Don Julio sponsors the evening and will be mixing the Don Julio tequila fizz (Don Julio tequila, créme de cassis, and ginger ale) for $10. Also on Cinco de Mayo, the restaurant will launch its newest beer, a collaboration with chef Miles Landrem.

Taceaux Loceaux

Tacos on the move. This food truck visits locations across the city, serving tacos, of course, plus unconventional sides like avocado fries and jalapeño popper hushpuppies. Check Facebook for the truck’s up-to-date location.

Emily Ramírez Hernández is the child of New Orleans natives whose families have been in the city for generations. Emily's earliest memories of New Orleans include joyful car rides over bumpy streets, eating dripping roast beef po-boys at Domilise's, and catching bouncy balls during Mardi Gras parades with cousins. An urban planner by day and freelance writer by night, when she is off the clock she enjoys biking around town, belly dancing, and catching nerdlesque shows.

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