Bethany Clough

These new tacos are shaking up Fresno’s food scene. Here’s what you need to know

See how 559 Street Tacos’ top-selling red tacos are made

In the taco truck scene of Fresno, 559 Street Tacos has a pair of uniquely made tacos - the red taco and the quesataco - that are big items on its menu. See what makes them so special.
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In the taco truck scene of Fresno, 559 Street Tacos has a pair of uniquely made tacos - the red taco and the quesataco - that are big items on its menu. See what makes them so special.

Two new(ish) kinds of tacos that have exploded on Instagram are bringing something a little different to the Fresno taco scene.

For one young taco truck (OK, technically a trailer), it has meant long lines of people waiting for tacos.

The tacos getting all the attention are red tacos and quesatacos.

The people at 559 Street Tacos, which launched locations in north Fresno and Clovis a few months back, started offering both recently.

The red taco is named for the red liquid the tortillas are dipped in before going on the grill.

It’s a mix of red chiles, oil, tomatoes, peppers and other ingredients that are cooked for six hours and then pureed and strained, said owner Chris Garcia.

The result is a tortilla that’s bright orange, with a little extra zing of flavor. It’s piled high with your choice of meat – asada meat is the No. 1 seller, but barbacoa is popular too – and all the extras like grilled onions, cilantro and salsa or a guacamole cream sauce.

Quesataco

“Quesataco is more a newer, more hip item,” Garcia said.

The quesataco is made with the same red taco tortilla, but filled with meat and a blend of melted mozzarella and Monterey jack cheese. The tacos are folded in half and grilled to make a crispy taco that holds its folded shape.

Neither of the tacos are spicy, unless you add salsa.

You can also order a side of consomé for the tacos, especially the quesatacos. It’s a little bowl of broth from the barbacoa, with seasonings added. Customers can add cilantro, lime, onions and other toppings.

“Some people drink it, some people dip it, some people pour it on the their tacos,” Garcia said.

Now, some of you have probably known about red tacos or quesatacos for a while.

Red tacos are big in the Los Angeles area, where Teddy’s Red Tacos started as a pop-up, opened a truck and then a restaurant. And other trucks locally have started carrying red tacos and quesatacos, too.

Some quesatacos sold elsewhere use a thin, crispy layer of grilled cheese instead of a tortilla.

Photos of both red tacos and quesatacos on 559 Street Tacos’ Instagram account have attracted lots of comments (122 in one post) and lines of people. Garcia says it’s not unusual to see 100 people in line, though some temporary deals selling tacos for $1 likely play a role in that too.

Customer Felix Onukwugha of Fresno moved here from Sacramento and the red quesatacos are quickly becoming his favorite.

“They’re phenomenal,” he said, joking that he’s a taco connoisseur.

“I love my tacos,” he said. “As they say, the food is supposed to get better as you go down south.”

And for die-hard taco fans who say you can’t get a good taco north of Shaw Avenue, well, yes, both these trucks are up north.

The Fresno one is at 780 E. Nees Ave., next to Sakura Chaya Tokyo Cuisine and behind the Arco and ampm convenience store. There’s also another taco stand in front of the ampm, but the red tacos are behind the building.

It’s open from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursdays, 5 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays and for Taco Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The Clovis truck is at 50 N. Clovis Ave., near Sierra Avenue and the Fairfield Inn & Suites. The lines there typically aren’t as long.

It’s open from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursdays, and 5 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

A brick-and-mortar taqueria may be in the works for Clovis, though nothing has been finalized yet.

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Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A reporter for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other business news. She has a degree in journalism from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.
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