Pittsburgh Taco Festival. Photos by Tom O'Connor.

There’s a huge appetite for tacos in this city. People are willing to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in long, meandering lines until their taco demands are met.

It’s truly impressive that there’s so much excitement about what is probably one of the most perfect foods ever conceived. I respect that, I really do. But dude, the lines! There could easily have been twice the vendors for the amount of taco lovers that were at this event (it’s a first time for this festival, and organizers are already working to improve it for next time). It was a sea of people all trying to find where the line ended just so they could just get in one. Eventually, it didn’t matter anymore what truck you were lining up for—just finding an actual “end” of a line, any line, became the goal. “Is this the end?” “No, it’s back there” was the standard refrain. So much taco love, maybe too much. I quickly realized my stop at the Hop Farm beer tent on the way was a really good move. 

This was early at the first of two sold-out sessions on Sunday, and I can only speak for my experience, but everyone was pretty cool about it. The band was fun, the weather cooperated, the tasty smells coming from the taco trucks kept everybody motivated. As the serpentine line inched forward, ever so slowly, you could even feel a camaraderie starting to develop. Eventually, we’re all going to get tacos and everybody’s going to be happy.

We’re all in this loco situation together. When one miserable schmuck tried to cut his way in front of a huge portion of a line where people had waited at least 45 minutes, he was quickly shamed and dispersed of—banished from taco land. “Enjoy your taco-less drive back to Philly, buddy” yelled one of my compatriots. Man, I love Pittsburghers. Oh, and how were the tacos? Freakin’ delicious.

The first-ever Pittsburgh Taco Fest was held in the lot adjacent to the Hop Farm Brewing Company in Lawrenceville. According to organizer Jeff McCloud of McCloud Strategic Communications, admission to the event was capped at 1800 per session due to space and both sessions sold out in advance.

Some of the taco vendors at the fest included: Bea Taco Town, Edgar’s Best Tacos, El Burro, La Palapa, La Sabroso, Mission Mahi, Pgh Taco Truck, Randita’s Vegan Café, Round Corner Cantina and Vagabond Taco Truck. A variety of beers were served up by Hop Farm Brewing. Mexican-style paletas (frozen fruit pop) were offered by Popsburgh! Ticket prices were $10 with proceeds benefitting Allegheny CleanWays.

Tacos from the Bea Taco Town stand.
The main taco truck roundup on Harrison Street.
Tortillas on the grill at El Burro.
Latin vibes provided by Gavas Beat.
Festival entrance off of Butler Street.
Local Pittsburghers happy to have nabbed some of the festival’s first tacos.
Local Pittsburghers happy to have nabbed some of the festival’s first tacos.
Hop Farm Brewing Company serving up cold cervezas.
Mission Mahi fish taco vendor.
The all-important cerveza cup.
Pittsburgh-based taco vendor, Edgar’s Best Tacos.
Pittsburgh-based taco vendor, Edgar’s Best Tacos.
The line waiting to get into the event forms along Butler Street.

Missed it? Catch it here in photos and plan on attending next year!

Tom O'Connor

Tom O'Connor is a photographer and writer currently based in Pittsburgh.