There’s a stretch of outer Forest Avenue – driving west past Po’ Boys & Pickles and Bruno’s Tavern – that is a bit of a restaurant ghost town. There are a few national chains – a McDonald’s and a Pizza Hut – and then for a few minutes’ drive, nothing. So the mostly residential neighborhood was excited to welcome Taco Trio’s second location several months ago. Open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Taco Trio, a traditional Mexican restaurant and bar, is packed on the weekends, and most weekday nights, too.
Like its South Portland location, Taco Trio on Forest Avenue is small with no more than 25 seats, which are somewhat crammed together, a mix of stools, and tables that seat either two or four.
What’s different at this new location is the bar – there’s actually a separate bar area with five stools, eight taps and a refrigerator packed with bottled beer, mostly Mexican brands, some regional. The restaurant also serves a few house margaritas and a mojito. And drinks here are cheap – whether it’s a Cuervo Gold Mango-Pineapple Margarita or a draft beer (Liquid Riot, Foundation, Allagash, Atlantic, Rising Tide, Pacifico, Negra Modelo all on tap), you won’t spend more than $5 on a drink. The house drinks are made fresh with Taco Trio’s original mixes, and the servers are enthusiastic to get behind the bar and make a drink.
For a neighborhood with a dearth of local bars – aside from the brewery cluster a mile away – Taco Trio picked the right time and place to arrive. Neighbors frequent the taqueria weekly, and if there’s no parking in the limited lot, many just walk over for their favorite taco ($4 each or 3 for $11), individual burrito ($9), enchilada or burrito plate ($11), dessert ($3.25) and a cold drink.
Taco Trio’s staff is welcoming and lively – traditional Mexican music blares and the staff sings along spontaneously – and you get the sense this place has already become a neighborhood fixture. It’s an energetic place on an otherwise sleepy piece of road.
WHERE: 1706 Forest Avenue, Portland
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
AMENITIES: Salsa fixings bar, window seating, clean bar area, excellent service
PARKING: Parking lot with limited spaces; street parking available
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Yes
BOTTOM LINE: Energetic, delicious, cheap and hospitable, Taco Trio’s second location on Forest Avenue has become a neighborhood fixture for its cozy bar scene, good beer selection and house margaritas and mojitos. Whether for a drink and a snack, or a full meal of enchiladas, this taqueria is not to be missed.