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Thursday, May 18, 2017


The new Tamarindo Latin Restaurant & Bar is now open at the site that formerly housed Claire du Lune Coffee House at Kansas and University Avenues.
As a native to my North Park neighborhood, I’ve seen the ‘hood’ during the good times (1950s) to the bad times (1960 to 1990s) and now back to the cool hipster era we’re currently living in.

What makes me smile is thinking about how many restaurants exist today in North Park, especially those serving California/Mexican style cuisine.  Back in the day, however, there were very few places in North Park to dine--period.  I remember Paesano’s, Chicken Pie Shop, Rudford’s and Carnation’s on El Cajon Blvd. and Jack-in-the Box at 30th and Upas.

Today, North Park is noted for its plethora of south of the border style food, especially tacos.

Somewhere in this blog, I’ll get to the point and list popular Mexican style eateries in the ‘hood, but for now, let’s pretend its 1960 again.  Summer time in North Park.

Robin lived on Utah Street near Capps Street, we were both 15 years old and ninth graders at Roosevelt Junior High.  We were out on a date.  At least, I considered it a date, but even though my heart was throbbing up to my throat, I knew she only considered it an outing with a school chum.  I also understood she liked my basketball teammate Bob better than me.

But for this afternoon, she was all mine, we caught a matinee at the North Park Theatre (when they were still showing first run films), had popcorn and sodas.  I saved up all month for that outing and I was flush with $8 in my wallet.

I didn’t want the time with her to end. After the movie, I suggested we go to Jack in the Box at Upas and 30th.  It was a bit of a hike, but that gave me plenty of time to work up the courage to hold hands with her.

It took me five blocks to finally reach for her hand.  To my amazement, she accepted our linkage casually like we’ve been doing it for years.  But, my overwhelming joy only lasted one block as we arrived for our feast of ground beef tacos (2 for 50 cents) at Jack’s.

We never held hands again as life sped by, but I still have the memory of a ninth grader, who was with what he considered at the time, the best looking girl North Park in 1959.

So, now I’m back to thinking about Mexican cuisine in North Park.  The following is a list of of North Park’s  growing collection of tacos and such.

Carnitas’ Snack Shack
2632 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104
 (619) 294-7675

Tamarindo Latin Kitchen and Bar  (NEW)
2906 University
San Diego CA 92104
(619) 955-8770

Tacos Perla
3000 Upas St
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 795-0700

Lucha Libre Taco Shop
3016 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 487-1520

Del Sur Mexican Cantina
2310 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 501-0643
3139 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 450-4788

Saguaro's Mexican Food
3753 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 291-7746

Panchita's Kitchen & Bakery
3803 32nd St
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 255-5498

Ranchos Cocina
3910 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 574-1288

El Comal
3946 Illinois St
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 294-8292

Colima’s Mexican Food
2302 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 297-2715

City Tacos
3028 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 296-2303

Ray’s Mexican Restaurant
2885 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 280-4011

El Sol Mexican
2037 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 298-0874

El Zarape Mexican Eatery
3038 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 794-0358

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