Taco Summer

Taco Summer: Unexpectedly Great Braised Bison Tacos in Central Phoenix

Shelby Moore
Using their sturdy house-made tortillas, meant for enchiladas, Gadzooks also offers tacos. Picture are two bison tacos topped with onions, salsa verde, and cotija cheese.
10. Gadzooks

 Gadzooks, 3313 North Seventh Street
Open Since: 2013
Style: Fast-casual specializing in enchiladas
Signature Taco(s): Modelo-braised bison tacos

Gadzooks is a midtown Phoenix original that opened in 2013. And, like a handful of spots on our Taco Summer list, this restaurant isn’t known for its tacos. Gadzooks is a build-your-own enchilada establishment modeled after Chipotle, where you move down the line and pick your ingredients — meats, sauces, salsas, and cheeses. Each enchilada is built using thick, house-made tortillas that get smothered in sauce, and they wisely offer tacos using the same fresh tortillas, as well. 

One filling they’ve become known for is a lunchtime-only offering of bison, which is braised slowly in Modelo beer. Braised meats are typically rich and heavy, but the braised, lean buffalo meat translates to a surprisingly light option, despite its dark, dense appearance.

It’s great with their marinated onions, a healthy sprinkle of salty cotija cheese, and a side of spicy green crema. We recommend that you pass on getting your taco fired in the oven with melted cheese — this softens the tortillas beyond a manageable point, calling for forks and knives, at which point you might as well get the sauce and call it an enchilada.

Our Taco Summer picks so far:
50. Taqueria Don Beto
49. Kiss Pollos Estilo Sinaloa
48. Tacos Tijuana
47. El Burrito Grande
46. El Horseshoe Restaurant
45. Tacos Sahuaro
44. El Pollo Correteado
43. Adrian's
42. La Fiesta
41. Taqueria Lucy
40. Tortas Ahogadas George
39. Taqueria El Chino
38. Joe's Tacos
37. Taqueria El Gallo de Lagos
36. Tacos Huicho
35. Puffy Taco Shack
34. Ni De Aqui Ne De Alla
33. Mr. Mesquite
32. Senor Ozzy's
31. Tacos Jalisco
30. Ta'Carbon
29. Taqueria Los Yaquis
28: Helio Basin Brewing
27: Sonora Taco Shop
26: Mercado Y Carniceria Cuernavaca
25. Restaurant Atoyac Estilo Oaxaca
24. Paquime Street Food
23. The Rez
22. Asadero Toro
21. La Frontera 1
20. Taquería Yaqui
19. Presidio Cocina Mexicana
18. Mucha Lucha Taco Shop
17. Casa Reynoso
16. Backyard Taco
15. Taquitos Jalisco
14: Waldo's Tacos
13: Moreno's Mexican Grill
12: Asadero Norte De Sonora
11: Taqueria La Hacienda #1