Taco Guild – Where Past Is Present

by RaeAnne Marsh

The wonderful thing about the adaptive reuse project that produced the Taco Guild is, it left much more intact than just the structure. The building’s previous lives as a Methodist Church — institutionalized in the cornerstone dated 1893 (before Arizona was even a state) and another from its renewal in 1955 after a few decades of disuse following a fire in 1911 — are commemorated in shadow boxes of memorabilia and photo arrays. The church’s stained-glass windows dominate the main dining room, permeating it with warmth and color. The untouched look of some of the lower window panels, though, is the result of careful and creative artistry in finishing a formerly hidden section of their wall. And the fact that the bar evokes the sense of an altar is no accident, either. “It’s all by design,” Sean Snelling, director of operations, is
proud to share.

Taco Guild’s church heritage manifests in names on the “Fresh Sheet” of monthly specials. Appetizers are “The Offerings,” salads are “The Saint,” entrées are “The Sinner” and desserts are “The Unforgiven.” All ingredients, menu-wide, are sourced locally; the items offered on the Fresh Sheet are the chef’s innovative specials created from what is in season that month. For instance, in May, that included grilled artichoke and roasted beet tacos topped with an herbed goat cheese fritter and drizzled with avocado lime cream. Whatever the filling of choice, the generous serving fairly overflows the tortilla (corn — freshly pressed rather than the common crisply fried — or flour) that holds it.

Every meal starts, of course, with complimentary corn chips — thin and crispy — and an assortment of salsas. It’s worth straying from the familiar green and red to try the orange — carrot and habañero — but with the forewarning: This is Taco Guild’s spiciest salsa. To end on a sweeter note, those who plan to order one of the tempting desserts should let the server know early in the meal as some need significant preparation time.

The small parking lot serves other high-profile establishments, so certain times of day may call for a short walk from nearby street parking.

Taco Guild
546 E. Osborn Rd., Phoenix
(602) 264-4143

Street Corn Trio

Grilled corn on the cob topped with (served three ways): habañero butter, chipotle aioli, Cotija cheese; honey tequila with cinnamon butter; traditional with butter, sour cream, Cotija cheese, tajin and cilantro

Trio $14, single $4.50

Lobster Taco

Sautéed lobster, habañero butter and wine sauce, topped with pico de gallo, fried avocado slice, Oaxaca cheese, fresh cilantro and lime crema


Grilled Romaine Salad 

Grilled Romaine hearts topped with fresh tomato and basil, blue cheese crumbles, bacon bits and creamy cilantro dressing



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