Hispanic chamber honors eight women

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Helen Velesiotis, founder, president and CEO of Taco Taco Café, was presented the Elvira Cisneros Inspiration Award. Velesiotis spoke of the value of hard work and consideration of others.

“I encourage everyone here to pursue their own personal victory,” she said.

 

Trinity Getting a Taco Taco Cafe- May 2013

Trinity

SA Magazine: Exporting The Taco- Februray 2013

El Norteno Taco 3

Helen Velesiotis credits the 2007 America’s Top Restaurants story in Bon Appétit magazine for catapulting her tiny cafe to national franchise status. Early in 2013 Taco Taco debuts in Raleigh, N.C., representing a business success story no novelist could create: A Greek immigrant builds a tiny restaurant in a Mexican-flavored American city and turns the country taco-crazy.

Why Raleigh? “The company (Fransmart) approached me about making a franchise and this was the first one,” Velesiotis explains with a shrug. Then she whispers, “They say it’s going to be in five other big states after that.” Her small face can hardly contain her enormous grin.
A sketch of the franchise interior shows it’s bright, clean, and colorful with plenty of dining tables and seated waiting areas. Not that the Hildebrand location is dingy, but the new design looks nothing like the original. What will migrate is Velesiotis’ focus on food quality. “We’re taking a team from here to train them on the full menu—the handmade corn and flour tortillas, the gorditas, the chicken tortilla soup, the carne guisada—everything,” she says.

“That’s what they say is going to be so different for them. It’s all going to be fresh, from the eggs to the salsa. Most places don’t do that. Taco Taco will.” Taco Taco, 145 E. Hildebrand Ave., 210-822-9533, tacotacosa.com. Daily 7 a.m.–2 p.m.

Food & Wine Magazine-Best Taco Spots Across The Country

This family-run San Antonio favorite specializes in the breakfast taco, done in pure Tex-Mex style: House-made, oversized tortillas are puffed up in a deep fryer until they’re all crunch and air, then piled with egg and cheese and accompanied by any combination of bacon, beans, chorizo and ham. Locals know the slow-roasted, smoky barbacoa is only available on weekends. tacotacosa.com

 

San Antonio Tourist- August 16, 2012

Taco Taco sits at the corner of Hildebrand and McCullough in an old Steak and Egg that morphed into Panchito’s before it moved over into its much larger McCullough location.

Though I’d been to the small (seats 40) restaurant many, many times when it was Panchito’s, I’d never been to Taco Taco. After reading review upon review about how wonderful it was, I met a friend there for breakfast.

The owner, Helen Velesiotis, has been in business since 1998. She said that things really exploded in 2005 when Bon Appétit credited Taco Taco with serving the best tacos in America. The Food Network’s Guy Fieri is also a believer. Plus, Taco Taco has been named “best breakfast tacos” in the Express-News’ Readers’ Choice Awards too many times to count.

With all of the hype, I was a little worried that I’d be disappointed. I wasn’t. Velesiotis, a native of Greece, must have been Mexican in a past life.

I ordered a huevos rancheros plate and my dining companion ordered a plate of migas, served with refried beans and potatoes. She also ordered sides of barbacoa and guacamole. Both of our plates came with extra flour tortillas. In truth, we could have ordered one plate and split it. Taco Taco’s servings are generous, to say the least. (Its website quotes an unnamed source as saying, “Yes, you can get breakfast tacos on every corner in this town, but we still go back to this corner for bigger than your head tacos…”) Our food was yummy.

Taco Taco is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. for breakfast and lunch. Its menu is extensive. Helen saw me snapping photos, and asked why. I told her that I wrote a blog on San Antonio. She eyed what we were eating and said, “But you didn’t try our potato and egg tacos or our chilaquiles tacos.” Before we knew it, they appeared on our table. We were already full to bursting, but we had to try them, and they were delicious.

Just when we thought we were all clear, a plate of sopapillas arrived. Eating them was a religious experience. Helen said, “It’s all about the dough.” As someone who grew up on baklava, Helen knows flaky dough.

When we left Taco Taco, a line of people was waiting to get in. I’d wait in line, too, for another plate of Helen’s sopapillas.

Article by: Denise Barkis Richter, Ph.D. – San Antonio Tourist Blog

 

Texas Highway Magazine – March 2012

Taco Taco
In 1998, longtime restaurateur Helen Velesiotis opened Taco Taco in the upscale neighborhood of Olmos Park, and since then, the line of people waiting for one of the eatery’s 50 seats during business hours (7-2 daily) has rarely slowed. The draw? Fluffy, handmade flour tortil-las encasing fillings of fresh eggs, bacon, and cheese; “puffy tacos” with chicken and picadillo; chicken soup fragrant with oregano; crispy comal-fried pork chops; crunchy chilaquiles; and dozens of other items that Velesiotis prepares with care.

Taco Taco has won numerous accolades over the years, including kudos from such magazines as Bon Appétit, Texas Monthly, Details, and Southern Living, but Velesiotis claims that love is the secret to her success. That, and a few secret ingredients. “I make my salsa every morning with roasted tomatoes, chiles de arbol, vinegar, salt, and garlic,” she says, “but I do have two secret ingredients I can’t tell you.”

Velesiotis makes between 2,000-3,000 flour tortillas daily, with her handmade corn tortillas (thick, earthy, and flecked with toasted bits from the comal) coming in a close second. For newcomers to Taco Taco, Velesiotis recommends the chilaquiles for breakfast (a scramble of eggs and corn tortillas with a splash of salsa) or, for lunch, the popular “Taco Norteño,” a tortilla of your choice filled with beef or chicken, jack cheese, sliced avocado, and charro beans, which are baked to give them added complexity.

Velesiotis, who was born in Greece but moved to San Antonio in 1972, has traveled extensively in Mexico, but she insists San Antonio has the best tacos in the world. “And we have the best tacos in San Antonio,” she adds with a chuckle.

See the full article in the March 2012 issue.

 

SAVEUR Magazine – San Antonio Tex-Mex – Jan/Feb 2012

In this year’s SAVEUR 100, we take stock of our favorite things: recipes, people, places. We consider every last one a new classic.

Behold the puffy taco, pride and joy of San Antonio, Texas. It is the epitome of Tex-Mex cuisine, taking a south-of-the-border element like the tortilla (either corn or flour), pumping it up (via deep-frying), and heaping it with American-size quantities of shredded chicken, guacamole, tomatoes, lettuce, cheddar cheese, or anything else you fancy.

San Antonio is the capital of Tex-Mex, and whenever we’ve got a hankering for that singular style of spicy, cheesy, bighearted cooking we seek out a few classic spots in the city.

Here all the touchstones—tacos, enchiladas, chile con queso, and more—are served in that most Tex-Mex of presentations, the combo plate. Any visitor to the city should swing by Taco Taco Cafe for a superlative puffy taco, as well as traditional soft and crispy tacos.

See the full article in the Jan/Feb 2012 issue.