I have been keeping an eye on Wicked Taco Factory, the fast-casual Mexican food establishment in the heart of downtown Little Rock for a few weeks now. The restaurant is still new, and I generally wait for a place to work out the kinks before checking it out. But for whatever reason, I deemed last Friday afternoon as a good time to make my inaugural visit. And while Wicked Taco Factory has a fun menu comprised of items like nachos, quesadillas, burritos, and tortas, I was there for thing: the tacos.
Wicked gives you ten protein options (chicken, steak, pastor, barbacoa, chorizo, lengua, chicken tinga, ground beef, steak alhambre, and chicken alhambre) for each taco. They come in two sizes: the smaller, double corn tortilla street tacos are $2.75 each and include meat, cilantro and raw onion, while the larger flour taco (under the “Medium Tacos” section) cost $3.50 each and come with meat, cilantro, raw onion, lettuce and tomato. I tried the corn and flour tortillas. Oh, the things I do for research.
In the end, while both options were winners, the proteins, specifically, the pastor (pork) and chicken tinga, were the real stars of the show. For those wondering what the heck is chicken tinga, it is shredded chicken stewed in a light tomato sauce with smoky chipotles. The mild flavor plays well with the combination of cilantro and onion and is ramped up significantly by adding a few drops of the complementary spicy salsa. I suggest doing so unless you are vehemently opposed to heat. As for the pastor, Wicked’s saucy version keeps the tender pieces of pork moist, and the inclusion of pineapple adds an appropriate level of sweetness. If you are looking to get a bit more adventurous, I also recommend the tender chunks of chopped lengua (beef tongue) as a protein option.
While waiting on the tacos to be prepared, I took a gander at some of the other items going out of the kitchen, including a taco salad with a freshly fried flour tortilla shell. I am a sucker for taco salads and have even convinced myself in the past of their healthiness. News flash, they are not. But this one looked fantastic. The same can be said for the queso being ladled onto some nachos, and remember, this is Arkansas, home of liquid cheese.
A couple of other items to keep an eye out for are the Carne Asada Fries and a Bacon Ranch Hot Dog. Do I have your attention? Good, now go check out Wicked Taco Factory and let me know what you think. Looks like management will even let you write on the walls. I have a feeling you will enjoy the affordably priced food, fast, friendly service, and an unpretentious atmosphere perfect for a quick lunch or dinner in downtown. Put it all together, and I think we have ourselves a winner.
Wicked Taco Factory
221 W 2nd St (Little Rock)
Phone: (501) 914-9613
Hours: Monday-Friday 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.