Dear Henry’s Tacos,

tacos012005.jpgI really wanted to like you. The first time I saw your colorful sign, only blocks from my apartment, I thought “That’s going to be my favorite taco place in L.A!” But that changed when I got up to the front of the line and asked for two bean tacos. The menu makes it clear you have beans available, and I’ve never had a Mexican place refuse to make a bean taco before, but sure enough, that’s what happened.

Today, I was walking by and I was hungry, so I figured I’d give you one more chance. Maybe last time the guy was just having a bad day, or feeling anti-vegetarian. Again, I asked for two bean tacos. And again, I was told that I couldn’t order that. I should’ve just given up, but instead I ordered “two meat tacos, but hold the meat, and give me a side order of beans,” and I made my own bean tacos at the picnic table out front.

I just don’t get what the problem is — aren’t beans cheaper than meat? Shouldn’t you be happy you can save the meat for someone else? I think in the future if I want to make my own tacos I’ll just do it at home.

By the way, I was almost tempted to write a post about how you make the best bean tacos on the planet, just to encourage other people to order them and piss you off, but I’m a friendly vegetarian and I don’t do stuff like that.

32 Replies to “Dear Henry’s Tacos,”

  1. Alegria on Sunset won’t make anything vegan. I mean, they won’t not put cheese on something and they won’t only put beans on something. So you can’t even order a fish and bean taco – hold the fish. Nothing special, only menu. So, fuck ’em, I’ll go somewhere else.

  2. What ARE the best taco stands in LA?
    I’ve been hunting for that perfect taco since my LA relocation 18 months ago, and so far Tere’s on Melrose is the stand-out choice. There is also a great little stall in Grand Cenral Market.

    Any other secret places that B.la readers will part with?

  3. Hey, NOTAVEGETARIAN – fuck off.

    JMV: there is an amazing taco place on Fig by USC called La Taquiza. They have no problem with the no meat or cheese stuff and YUM! LA MAG voted them one of the best mexican restaurants too.

  4. NOTAVEGE: Hell hath no fury like a vegitarian scorned.

    JMV: My vote goes to Tacos Mexico on the south side of Beverly Blvd. a couple blocks east of Vermont.

  5. I worked across the street from Henry’s for several years. All of us (about 30 or so) avoided it like the plague. You’re not missing a thing.

    Cool sign, though.

  6. My biggest issue beyond the willingness to fill a taco or burrito with non-meaty things is knowing what’s in the beans, rice, and tortillas. I’ve been to Mexican restaurants where all three had lard or chicken stock. Unfortuntely in my expirience, many non-chain restaurants give different answers each time I ask, so they either don’t know, are telling me what they think I want to hear, or both.

  7. Okay, maybe I overreacted a tiny bit, but that goes along with the day I’m having. I guess I just had this dumb idea in my head that a place with such a cool sign would be at least slightly cool.

    Caryn, I was just at La Taquiza on Monday for the first time. Good stuff!!

    Michael, I guess I’m usually pretty easygoing about being vegetarian — in general I don’t ask questions as long as the thing I’m ordering doesn’t mention a meat product on the menu. (If I’m hungry enough, I just figure I probably don’t want to know the answer.)

  8. Well I’m not a vegetarian and I’ve always enjoyed Henry’s since it’s in my neighborhood, but I can follow the disappointment.

    Up on Laurel Canyon and Magnolia in the little strip with a BA in it, there’s a relatively new place that proclaims in big bold letters “Vegetarian Mexican Restaurant”

    Give that a try.

  9. Well, it’s not a taco stand in the sense that the other places are, but Sky’s Tacos on Pico near Hauser is totally and insanely awesome and nobody who I’ve ever taken there has ever disagreed. And they have vegetarian stuff. But if you eat seafood, have the shrimp taco. Oh my god. I can’t even stand talking about it without having one here to eat.

  10. A bean taco is a burrito! Henry isn’t anti-vegeterian…he’s The Taco Nazi!

    JMV: damn you really are jonesing for GCM tacos. Let’s go already!

  11. It’s the strangest thing: Henry’s does look like it would be one of those “favorite hip hole-in-the-wall” kinda places, but in my years of living around it and driving past it nearly every day — I’ve never felt the need to stop there.

    And … Dave says I’m not missing anything? Awesome. :D

  12. Wow! It’s funny to see which topics inspire people to post with the most fervor. Today it appears to be gun control…and tacos.

    I used to live by Henry’s, and while it wasn’t the best “taco stand” by any means, I do have a nostalgic attachment to the taco burgers (yes, I said taco burgers) and their combo burritos. I haven’t been there in a long time though, so I don’t know if the quality has gone down.

    JMV: THE BEST tacos used to be at Arrosco’s in East L.A. off Soto. Sadly, he is no longer with us and only a great taco void has replaced his stand. I still really like Benito’s. Cheap and GOOOOOOD! 4 that I know of. Map em’! 6751 Santa Monica Blvd; 7912 Beverly Blvd; 1544 S La Cienega Blvd; 11614 Santa Monica Blvd.

  13. Here’s the deal–taco stands aren’t catering to the hip and holy. They make food, you want their food, they sell you the food. The ones run by Latinos don’t give a rat’s ass about your aversion to chickenstock or lard–they cook, like they’ve always cooked. Novelle Latin cooking exists at Norman’s, not Oaxaca.
    If LA mag selects a place, it’s probably very sanitized for Anglo consumption.

  14. WTF is a bean taco? I’ve never even heard of such a thing!
    Actually, I guess MHALS is right, a bean taco is a burrito. Also, Mexican food is _supposed_ to be made with lard, at least that’s how everyone’s grandmother does it. (Also, why would a shop with what looks like a thirty or fourty year-old sign seem like it would have good tacos? That just makes me think they’ve stayed in business all these years catering to the tastes of white people. Why would that appeal to yo- (oh,wait… I know.))

  15. Where the hell have you people been eating? I’ve only been to one, ONE tacoria in my entire life that didn’t serve bean tacos (it’s actually a menu item for crying out loud) and all the people that worked at it were as white as it gets. Likewise, only two “mexican” restaurants haven’t had them listed on the menu and both of those places leaned towards “fusion.”

    Christ, it’s like if you don’t order it it must not exist.

  16. OMG! I went to USC and LIVED at La Taquiza!
    I’m more of a carnivore, and La Taquiza has the best Pastor in California (I’m from New Mexico and am kinda a huge snob and crappy Mexican food here). The #4 (Taco, Enchilada & Tamale) is perfect, the Chile Relleno is one of the few I will eat outside of New Mexico, and the Mullitas are awesome (it’s a flat taco sandwich, stuffed with a of of cheese, avocado, and meat of choice).

    Ernies in Burbank has the best burritos and salsa, by far.

    Without exaggeration I’ve eaten tacos from 300 establishments in Los Angeles and my favorite is the La Estrella taco truck that parks on York Blvd & Ave 54 in Highland Park. I know all the horror stories about taco trucks but this one is on the money. It’s not that they do anything amazing with their tacos, they’re just better than all the others (and have a funny quirk – There is a stationary sign posted in the ground that the truck parks under).

    Rodeo Grill on Sunset & Echo Park used to be okay, but the place changed for the worse… still better than a lot though.

    I would rather eat Taco Bell than Benitos…. and I would rather slit my wrists that eat Taco Bell.

  17. Hey Big Steve,

    Taco Bell vs. Benito’s!!! You must be joking. Unless you went to Benito’s on horrible taco day, I’m not sure what you mean. I’m not saying they have the best tacos. But as far as bang for your buck and being open 24 hrs, you can’t beat it! (By the way, it helps if you’re relatively wasted when you eat them, which I generally am around 3:30 in the a.m. at Benito’s).

    Also…

    If we’re thinking of the same Ernie’s (Lankersheim and Moorprak). It’s in North Hollywood, not Burbank. And the food is nothing to write home about. In fact, most of the time it SUCKS. I lived across the street for 4 years and I gave it a million chances.

  18. Although a bit far from LA, Taco Loco in Laguna Beach has tofu and mushroom tacos. Its my favorite taco place. Too bad its far, but it makes a good meal if you plan to spend the day at the beach.

  19. could someone please tell me the location of Henry’s Taco’s please? They are some celebrity fav’s that appeared on the Oprah show yesterday and boy do they look awesome!!

  20. I grew up eating a Henry’s. I am going back to today after a 10 year absence. They truly are the best. And having spoken to Hank in the past, I know the secret. Guess…..It’s actually the fact that he uses dehydrated onions…No shit. They are the best. All fresh otherwise. Trust me, been eating them for 30 years. He is about to sell, retire, and move to Wisconsin. nuts….I know.

  21. the best tacos are in east Los Angeles. (lorena & whittier)

    the place is called la estrella.

  22. Henry’s Tacos
    Provided tacos for audience members on Oprah show.
    11401 Moorpark St.
    North Hollywood, CA 91602
    (818) 769-0343

  23. I ate at Henry’s tacos the day the day they oprned in 1961 when I was in junior high school. They’re one of the few things I miss since I moved to San Diego in 1999. Not fancy or typically Mexican, their tacos are great. I grew up two blocks away and miss them a lot. If you want a veggie taco go to Rubio’s and get a fish taco with their ranch dressing & cabbage, they make me puke.

    Studio City native, Al D.

  24. Henry’s Tacos are so rank!!
    They taste exactly like tacos you’d get at Taco Bell (what were the Olsen Twins thinking?!?!), except the bell might offer more flavor. My boyfriend and I spent our last day in LA searching for this “legendary” taco stand (“best in america!” my ass!!), and boy, were we sorely disappointed…
    The tacos were flavorless and with extremely poor quality ground beef (if you can call it that) that resembled minced mealworms. If you are searching for a good meal, avoid this place like the plague…

  25. Please, save your $10 and go to Taco Bell instead of Henry’s!!! I thought, “Hey, I’ll try this local taco stand that people rave about. I bet it’s quite a find.”

    I was wrong!!!! Their tacos are $2.40, and I swear on everything holy that they are basically equivalent to the tacos on Taco Bell’s 39 cent menu.

    For a real taco, try King Taco or Tito’s. If you want to try Henry’s Tacos, go to TB instead and save yourself the money.

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