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Lake County Taco Trail 2024 passports ready, go beyond Taco Tuesday

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Lake County Taco Trail 2024 passports ready, go beyond Taco Tuesday

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PAINESVILLE, Ohio – Move over Taco Tuesday, every day is taco day on Lake County’s Taco Trail.

The 2023 promotion went so well that the county is doing it again. This year’s promotion includes 18 restaurants throughout the county. Eight are in Painesville, which has a thriving Mexican population.

This year’s trail offers two prizes — a sticker for 200 points and a t-shirt for 1,200.

“The Taco Trail was a booming success in its first year not only from a local perspective in terms of creating awareness for these locally owned restaurants, but also for introducing visitors to our amazing Mexican culinary scene,” said Neil Stein, executive director of the Lake County Visitors Bureau in Painesville. “We had no idea what to expect in terms of sign-ups and redemption.

“At the end of the year we exceeded 1,500 sign-ups,” he said. “Over 100 people got the t-shirt for visiting at least 12 different locations. We plan to continue to promote and grow the Taco Trail in 2024 and beyond. With the added incentive of bonus points and discounts at select restaurants, plus more Taco Parties this year, we’d love to eclipse 2,000 users in 2024.”

To participate in the Taco Trail and receive prizes, travelers must sign up for a free mobile passport that will be delivered via text and email. It can be saved to a mobile phone’s home screen for one-tap access.

Then, if the phone’s location services are on when visiting a Taco Trail restaurant, check-in will be recorded automatically via GPS. Points will accumulate toward prizes. All but two restaurant check-ins are worth 100 points: Hola Tacos in Willoughby and Wild Burrito in Madison are worth 150 each because they are members of the visitors bureau.

Points reset to zero for those who participated in 2023. So they must download the 2024 version of the passport and re-do the trail.

Secret note: You can order anything during your visit, not just tacos, and still get points.

Diners don’t need Spanish to frequent the dining establishments, though it could help. Menus are in English and most include photos. If the staff isn’t fluent in English, they know enough to take care of diners.

“For 200 points people can get a Taco Trail sticker which will be great to put on their new Stanley or Yeti mugs or laptops,” Stein said. The 2024 t-shirt requires 1,200 points.

Restaurants

Cocina Elvis

Al pastor (marinated pork) taco from Cocina Elvis, 101 W Walnut Ave B, Painesville
– Photo by Yadi Rodriguez, cleveland.com

1. Barrio, Willoughby

2. Casa Agave, Painesville

3. Cocina Elvis, Painesville

4. Cocos Locos, Mentor

5. Compadres Grill, Painesville and Madison

6. Condado Tacos, Mentor

7. Don Tequila, Eastlake and Mentor

8. El Paladar de Mexico, Painesville

9. El Palenque, Eastlake

10. El Rodeo, Mentor

11. El Senor, La Mexicana, Painesville

12. El Taco Macho, Painesville

13. Hola Tacos, Willoughby

14. Picante Mexican Grille, Painesville

15. Taqueria La Casita, Painesville

16. Wild Burrito, Madison

Of the 20 restaurants in the 2023 list, the five most-visited were Casa Agave, El Taco Macho and Compadres in Painesville as well as the now-closed Azteca in Mentor and Hola Tacos in Willoughby.

“I visited and ate at 17 locations on the Taco Trail in 2023, several places numerous times,” Stein said. “My favorite part of visiting these places is definitely the people who work at and/or own the restaurants. They’re so friendly and welcoming.

“From a food perspective, I’ve learned which meats I like best at certain restaurants. For example the Prensado (spicy pork) at Cocina Elvis, the al Pastor (marinated pork) at La Casita, the chorizo at El Senor’s at La Mexicana and the Birria (braised meat) at El Taco Macho.”

Cleveland.com’s Yadi Rodriguez and Paris Wolfe visited most of the Painesville restaurants on the Taco Trail in 2023. Read We did the authentic Taco Trail in Painesville: Here’s what you should know (photos).

Paris Wolfe writes about food, dining and drinking for Cleveland.com. You can reach her with story ideas at pwolfe@cleveland.com. Here’s a directory of her latest posts. Follow her on Instagram @pariswolfe.

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