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Torchy's Tacos fails to light any fires or live up to self-proclaimed slogan

Olivier Rey / Red Dirt Report
The notorious "Damn Good" sign at Torchy's Tacos in Norman, Oklahoma.
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NORMAN, Okla. – Who out there remembers the minor scandal created by Torchy’s Tacos last June after installing a giant sign reading “Damn Good," which was visible from outside the restaurant?

If you don't there was a bit of a stir. And sometimes controversy can be good for business.

Nevertheless, some fundamentalist critics claimed the sign was blasphemous (after all we are in the buckle of the Bible Belt!), while others said the lighted claim was simply too presumptuous.

Months went by before my wife and I decided to finally check out Torchy's Tacos, here in Norman, for ourselves and to determine if the tacos were "damn good" or not, and to see if Torchy's really "lit a fire."

So, on a recent Saturday night, we did just that.

While the exterior of the restaurant has an insipid appearance, inside the decor was modern, nice and welcoming. The place at this time of our venue was not very busy for a Saturday, great we didn’t have to wait for ordering.

Besides, their breakfast tacos, Eats and Treats and Chips and Dips, Torchy’s Tacos proposes 14 different types of tacos accompanied with seven different sauces.

We chose the Baja Shrimp ($4.50) and the Democrat ($4.25). I noted that The Democrat was more expensive than The Independent ($3.75) and The Republican ($3.50). Curious.

So, is the little devil (the restaurant’s mascot) is trying to send us a sign? Who knows?

In addition, we ordered the chips and guacamole for $5.95 and we also ordered two refreshing bottles of beer at the bar (yes there is a bar!).

The tacos didn’t look very nice and there was a lack of color and presentation of the food. Additionally, the quality was disappointing. First, the guacamole was slightly spicy, something that was not specified on the menu!

Guacamole, chips and beer. (Olivier Rey / Red Dirt Report)

Secondly, the chips served with the guacamole were of poor quality, dried, tiny and looked more industrial than handmade product.

Something we also observed with the tortillas was that they were not fresh at all. Perhaps that is because it was the end of the day. If that is the case then they should adapt the price as a consequence.

The Democrat tacos at Torchy's Tacos in Norman. (Olivier Rey / Red Dirt Report)

Hopefully, I'm not painting a totally grim picture for you. If you are able to look past the chips and tortillas, the hand-battered fried shrimp with cooked cabbage slaw and topped with pickled jalapeños, herbs and touch of lemon were simply delicious.

For The Democrat the shredded beef Barbacoa was very good although little dried. It was improved with fresh avocado. I also really love the beer Shiner Bock. And for the record, Shiner is the oldest independent brewery in Texas.

But still, to pay this price for such a poor quality was not worth it.

So “Damn Good” or not? Obviously not. Saying so is way too presumptuous on the part of Torchy’s Tacos. My suggestion (at the risk of being presumptuous myself) is to improve the quality of their fare - at least if they don't want customers coming in who want that sign removed. 

And contrary has that is written on the menu flyer I didn’t hear anyone saying “damn, these tacos are good!”

Perhaps the music was too loud.

Torchy's Tacos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Torchy's Tacos
2050 NW 24th Ave.
Norman, OK 73069
Phone: (405) 364-0286
http://torchystacos.com

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About the Author

Olivier Rey

Olivier has traveled in 20 countries on six continents before landing in Norman. Native French...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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