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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — When you think of Kansas City cuisine, your mind may go straight to barbecue, but it’s the metro’s tacos that are getting national acclaim. 

Forbes named KCK the taco capital of the US. Alan Carr, the executive director of Visit KCK, said he’s excited the city’s Mexican food and community are getting attention.

“I think it’s wonderful that we’re getting that recognition for something that we feel like is really authentic to who we are as a place,” Carr said.

The article highlights the city’s authentic, flavorful and spicy tradition. W. David Keith is eating his way through the metro one taco at a time for his podcast, Taco the Town. He said maybe one day people will see tacos as the metro’s signature food.

“It’s great. It’s finally been put on the map, and what an amazing thing to be put on the map for. I’m just so happy. I’m so happy that they can share their tacos with the world,” Keith said.

At El Camino Real on 7th Street, the news came as a surprise for co-owner Faustino Martinez. 

“I’m glad, and I hope we’re one of them!” Martinez said.

His dad opened the restaurant in 2000 after selling his seasoned pork tacos at local baseball games. 

“It makes me really, really feel special for what my dad has accomplished, and I’m really surprised that it is. We try to sell the best, more authentic tacos we have from Mexico, so that’s what we’re trying to do every day,” Martinez said.

He said the best way to tell if tacos are authentic is the spice. He and his dad worked for years to perfect their spice mixture they use on their meat.

Martinez said he’s grateful Forbes recognized KCK, but the best recognition is from their customers.

“I really appreciate them coming in in this pandemic. Everything’s hard right now, and I want to thank them for coming in,” Martinez said.

If you want to try all the tacos in KCK, you can sign up for Visit KCK’s Taco Trail and earn prizes along the way.