Bring on the Brazos: The best taco place in Charlottesville

Austin-inspired Brazos Tacos is the perfect local grub spot for any occasion

brazos

 A fan favorite for many residents of Charlottesville, Brazos is affordable, local and delicious.  

Maggie Trundle | Cavalier Daily

Sitting amidst the eccentric sculptures and activity of IX Art Park, Brazos Tacos pulses with the chatter of children, students and parents every weekend. Brazos is a taco shop that sells Austin, Texas-inspired tacos and margaritas in a hip, casual location. A fan-favorite for many residents of Charlottesville, Brazos is affordable, local and delicious. 

Accessibility

The accessibility of Brazos Tacos is one of its best features. Some of the best downtown Charlottesville restaurants are tiny spaces with only a few tables, long waits and no parking. Brazos, while still being downtown, avoids all of these issues. 

Located only minutes from Grounds by car or Trolley off Cherry Avenue in IX Art Park, the location really couldn’t be better. Even on very crowded days, I have never had any trouble finding parking in the large lot of parking spaces. The restaurant is only one level, wheelchair accessible and includes indoor and outdoor seating. While Brazos is always a good option for a weekend lunch or dinner just minutes from Grounds, it is perfect to combine with any of the variety of events hosted at IX Art Park from concerts to food markets and beer festivals.

Brazos also has an online ordering system so you can place an order and pick it up, skipping any wait time or long lines. Their hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. These long hours differentiate Brazos from lots of other restaurants in that they cater to the breakfast, lunch and dinner scenes. 

Atmosphere

Brazos atmosphere is casual and non-judgmental which means it’s perfectly acceptable to come to Brazos in athletic clothes after a run or on a Sunday morning, but it also is a great place to grab some of their famous margaritas with friends on a Friday night. 

Whether it’s a breezy fall day or a little too sunny, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor seating options to accommodate for the sometimes large crowds. However, even on busy Saturday mornings, I have never felt that it was too crowded or that there was any lack of seating. 

The inside of Brazos is a simple, industrial room with plenty of local art adding flare to the space. The menu is posted on a large chalkboard above the counter, as well as on small paper menus. There are usually only two staff members taking orders at the counter, so sometimes the line slows down, but the tacos never take long to be brought to your table. The combination of ordering at the counter but having someone bring the tacos to you is a seamless combination for a casual spot like Brazos. Scattered around a counter in the inside are tons of children’s books, which fit perfectly and emphasize the restaurant’s commitment to being a fun and worry-free spot for parents with children. 

The outdoor patio has small two-top tables and large picnic tables, making it perfect for any sized group even groups of 10 or more people. Each table holds an umbrella, which is good for shielding bright sun rays, and are decorated with string lights which make for a nice setting during the evening. 

Affordability

Brazos tacos are sold individually and range from $2.50 to $4.75. The usual order consists of two to four tacos, but it depends on appetite and which tacos you get. Some of the less expensive tacos are small and less filling, while certain tacos are much more substantial. The more expensive tacos, while still under $5, are the Premium Tacos on the menu, such as the Fish Aficionado taco with grilled tilapia and the Carne Asada taco with asada beef. These premium tacos take longer to cook, and the menu has a note warning that if you’re in a rush, they may take a little longer. 

Appeal 

The Brazos menu of tacos is so extensive that it’s difficult to try every one. However, I have had a few and have not tried one yet that I did not like. The Fish Aficionado taco is one of the freshest tasting to me and is perfect if you are going to Brazos at night time. This taco has grilled tilapia with red cabbage, radish, avoverde sauce and fresh lime. Fish tacos, in my opinion, can be a hit or a miss and are only good if the ingredients taste incredibly fresh. Brazos succeeds on this, and consequently has what is in my opinion the best fish taco I have tried in Charlottesville. 

On a Saturday trip to Brazos I ordered both a normal taco and breakfast taco. The breakfast taco I tried was the Woody taco with black beans, eggs, sauteed mushrooms, roasted corn pico and avocado on a corn tortilla. The flavors combined well and the addition of mushrooms transformed what would have been a simple and generic breakfast taco. The second taco I ordered was the “Pollo Rostizado” —  a simple and delicious taco with pulled chicken, guaco verde sauce, white onion and cilantro. This taco also came on a corn tortilla, but you can choose either corn or flour for any taco you order. The Pollo Rostizado taco is a perfect taco for someone who wants minimal ingredients that still pack flavor.  Its magic touch is the guaco verde, a creamy avocado sauce drizzled on top. 

Brazos offers a variety of tacos which pack different elements, and you really cannot go wrong with any of their choices. The best part is that when you order tacos individually, you can try different ones and gain a variety of flavors. I know I will certainly be returning in the future to try more of their tacos which combine both a local, hipster feel with an exotic Tex-Mex style.

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