The time is 10:30 p.m. and I am sitting in my silver two- door Jeep Wrangler. It’s a whopping 45 degrees outside with a slight yet effectively bone-chilling drizzle panging against my small windshield. My car vibrates from the bass notes playing at the almost-too-hip joints, which glow from their multicolored neon signs lining the St. Mary’s strip.
One particular joint stands out most from my particular point of view in the shadows. It is Hardbodies, the male strip club. However, unlike most other Tuesday (and Wednesday and Thursday and alternating Sunday) nights, this is not my destination. On this particular night, my attention rests on the chicken quesadilla that is oozing queso all over my hand, the savory charro beans that smell of spices that I’m sure were never in my mom’s cabinet, and the sweet peaches and cream that I decided to eat before everything else. I am parked in front of the most important place in the world: Tacos El Regio, more commonly known as “the taco truck next to Hardbodies.”
Tacos el Regio has been open for seven years at 2726 North St Mary’s Street. Its hours are 10:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. Monday thru Friday and 10:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. It serves a basic menu of tacos, quesadillas, tortas and tostadas.
Due to its good food, popular location and unique hours, it has become one of the most well-known late night eateries around San Antonio.
Upon arriving at Tacos el Regio, which translates to the Regal Tacos, I met with a woman named Marcella Rojas who works many of the 10:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. shifts and is an absolute sweetheart.
She handled me banging on the door of the truck and demanding answers to questions very well.
When I asked her about her experiences serving people who had probably just stumbled out of a karaoke bar, she laughed hysterically, rolled her eyes, and playfully refused to disclose any specific information. I could only assume the best. Surprisingly, she told me that the truck’s most popular hours aren’t the wee hours of morning, but at around 11 p.m. She also said that no one dish is more popular than the others, but that everyone must try the charro beans. I can attest that the charro beans are delicious.
Food trucks like Tacos el Regio have a rich history in Texas. After the American Civil War, the Texas chuckwagon helped expand the flourishing meat industry. These wagons would transport beef to regions of Texas that couldn’t be reached by railroad. Charles Goodnight, “the father of the Texas panhandle” created the original chuckwagon after realizing how difficult it was to cook proper meals during cattle drives. He did this by essentially fitting a small kitchen in a wagon. Since Goodnight’s creation, food trucks have expanded all over Texas and now serve all different types of food, from tacos to BBQ to cupcakes. While they are strongly associated with Austin, San Antonio has been embracing them. So, next time you’re up at 2 a.m. and are grumbling for some Mexican food, head to Tacos el Regio on St. Mary’s. However, one important thing to remember about tacos (and bodies) is that a good shell (body) is hard to find and a hard shell (body) is good to find.