An authentic Mexican street taco concept from San Diego has expanded to the Dallas area. Called Valerie's Taco Stand, it's a family-owned chain specializing in the fish tacos for which San Diego is most famous.
Valerie's made its Texas debut in mid-2020 with a first location in Princeton. A second location just opened in Plano, in a former Schlotzky's in front of Home Depot at 1130 N. Central Expwy.
Valerie's was founded in San Diego, California in 1997 by Valerie and Steve Swanson, who've since opened nine locations around Southern California.
Their menu is extensive, with most of the prototypical Mexican categories including tacos, tortas, enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos, and chimichangas.
A dozen combination plates come with rice & beans and feature combos such as chile relleno and beef taco.
Tacos come in two varieties, crispy and soft, with fillings that include carne asada, fried mahi, potato, and veggie. Breakfast tacos with choice of meat, potato, and cheese, wrapped in a house-made flour tortilla, are available all day.
One unique category is fries, either plain or with toppings such as carne asada, surf & turf, queso, and guacamole.
And a one-of-a-kind signature are their marinated/pickled carrots, offered as a refreshing garnish.
They also do a clever Mexican version of the buzzy "bowls," featuring rice, refried beans, guacamole, and queso, topped with choice of shredded chicken, beef, pollo asada, carne asada, or shrimp.
They're proud of the fact that their corn tortillas are made from ground corn not corn flour, and they use high-quality meats.
With its proximity to the ocean and Mexico, San Diego professes to have the best fish tacos and Valerie's does a classic version with the fish lightly battered and fried for a crunchy crust which has earned it a place on many best-of lists.
Mariana Monoya, a representative for the chain, told Plano Magazine that Valerie's came to Texas because members of the family moved to Collin County and couldn't find Mexican food they liked.
They've also grappled with the current employee shortage that's been such a challenge for the restaurant industry following the pandemic, prompting the Plano location to close for a few days until they could get properly staffed.
"This is new Mexican food, real San Diego food, it's authentic," she said.