There are only two kinds of meat at Backyard Taco in Mesa -- carne asada and pollo -- and they're both pretty amazing.
Tender and cooked to perfection over mesquite charcoal with just the right amount of seasoning (so that you still taste the grill), they're served with cabbage, onions, and a nice, smoky red tomato sauce.
And wallet-friendly? Yeah, you could say that.
See also: 10 Best Tacos in Metro Phoenix
Courtesy of Ruben and Maricela Alvarez, who were born and raised in Mazatlan, Mexico, Backyard Taco opened nine months ago with a simple menu of Mexican snacks that average around $3.50.
You'll want a taco. At just $1.80 apiece, probably a couple of them. Served in a flour or corn tortilla that, like the asado or pollo, gets a trip to the grill, they're satisfyingly simple and pretty much perfect. Elevate the flavors even more with a trip to the salsa bar.
Besides tacos, there are quesadillas, gorditas, tostadas, or a baked and skinless "crazy potato" with cheese. Sides include chips and salsa or refried beans. Mexican bottled sodas, agua frescas, and fountain drinks provide the refreshment.
Located on the stretch of University Drive between Stapley Drive and Gilbert Road, Backyard Taco sits in a gray A-frame-style building that belies its bright, cheerful interior and welcoming hidden front patio. And it's here that the neighborhood locals who regularly pack the place give in to a taco euphoria the rest of us are just finding out about.
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Backyard Taco 1524 East University Drive, Mesa 480-464-8226 www.backyardtaco.com
Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday