At its regular meeting on Nov. 28, the Cypress City Council swiftly approved a conditional use permit for a new “fast-food Mexican restaurant” at 6178 Lincoln Ave., east of the intersection with Valley View Street.
The new restaurant will go in the building that used to house Payless Shoes. Because a restaurant has never occupied the building, the applicant is required to install a grease trap.
All the red tape was matter-of-fact and ho-hum.
What spurred a trip by Orange County Breeze staff to Hawaiian Gardens the next day was the look on Councilman Phil Luebben’s face when he asked whether the new restaurant would serve menudo like an already open Tacos San Pedro down the street a couple of miles, at 11962 Carson St. in Hawaiian Gardens.
Two audience members walked up to the podium once public comments were opened. Both women had earlier talked about surplus Cypress School District property and had not known about the public hearing for the new restaurant, yet the two women each strongly endorsed the Hawaiian Gardens restaurant.
All three — Councilman and audience members — complained about the too-small parking lot, but said the food was great.
Hence the Tuesday drive to Hawaiian Gardens to see what all the fuss is about.
Yeah, the parking lot is small. How small? There’s a note in English and Spanish on the front door apologizing for how small!
Once inside, my first thought was Wow! Clean!
I’ve eaten in some real dives. Tacos San Pedro in Hawaiian Gardens is no dive.
There are a couple of tables outside and maybe ten or twelve tables inside. The service counter is smack in the middle and the cooking area off to the left as you walk in.
After studying the wall menu, I ordered two tacos to go: one asada (beef) and one pastor (marinated pork). Tacos cost two bucks each but these are not your Americanized ground beef tacos.
The service was quick and I was out the door lickety-split to share the bounty with our unpaid office intern.
Each taco was made from two small thick soft corn tortillas stuffed with a mixture of cubed meat, chopped onions and cilantro. Hot sauce was served on the side. No sour cream or shredded cheese anywhere.
Really, really good. The pastor was noticeably spicier than the asada but both made me wish that the parking lot had more spaces.
Now I’m counting the days until the Cypress Tacos San Pedro opens so that I can try out their menudo and find a parking spot much more easily.
An exterior photo by C.E.H. Wiedel of the Hawaiian Gardens Tacos San Pedro. Yes, the parking lot is small. But, wow, those two tacos were good eats.