Food: The area has welcomed a trio of new tacos recently. Photos courtesy of Chicas Tacos

Cinco de Mayo is upon us and this year it need not be a lackluster affair of limited to eating to-go guac on the sofa. With vaccination rates soaring and the Los Angeles springing back to life, several new taco joints have popped up that are perfect for celebrating the holiday.

La Purepecha: An family run joint with killer handmade tortillas

Located at 725 Broadway Ave, La Purepecha is one of the newest Mexican restaurants in Santa Monica and is about as authentic as they come. The business is run entirely by family members who use traditional recipes passed down from generations to craft every dish and prepare their signature ‘La Purepecha sauce’.

“From the carnitas, to the al-pastor, to the rice, to the sauces, all of the food comes straight from my great grandmother and grandmother’s recipes,” said Co-owner and SMC graduate, Pedro Palomo.

When Palomo was studying at Santa Monica College he was always on the lookout for fresh homemade Mexican tortillas. Finding nothing in the neighborhood up to par he decided to fill the niche himself.

“The handmade tortilla gives the taco a very authentic flavor. It tastes totally different than anything you can buy in store,” said Palomo. “Every time someone places an order the tortilla is made fresh in the restaurant right there and then.”

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo and welcome neighbors to the restaurant, La Purepecha is running specials all week. This Wednesday tacos are $1.99 each, on Thursday there is a $10 deal for a traditional bowl and agua fresca, and on Friday there is a $10 deal on a fajita bowl and an agua fresca.

Las Chicas Tacos: A better-for-you Mexican feast

Las Chicas Tacos is celebrating Cinco de Mayo with the grand opening of its Venice store. Located inside the Wholefoods at 225 Lincoln Boulevard, this is the fourth location of the health and plant forward Mexican eatery.

“Chicas Tacos first pioneered the movement of organic, non-GMO ingredients sourced locally. Our style is bold and balanced with all dishes made fresh in-house daily,” said Founder Chris Blanchard. “Whole Foods feels like such a natural fit for us, as both of our brands align on quality and freshness.”

The menu includes all of Chicas award-winning staples such as their beer battered fish tacos, crispy plant-based taco, and Habanero salsa. There are also several menu items unique to the Venice location, including a grilled fish taco and leche de tigre ceviche.

The brand is excited to expand its Westside presence and is partnering with local vendor Abbot’s Butcher for its plant-based proteins.

“Chicas Tacos has aspired to make its way to the coast since our inception in 2016. We love the vibes and beach energy and look forward to sharing Chicas fresh approach with our Venice and Santa Monica neighbors,” said Blanchard.

Chicas is celebrating Cinco de Mayo with DJ entertainment and giveaways at all four of its locations. A percentage of proceeds from the day’s sales will be donated to non-profit food donation organization No Us Without You.

Trejo’s Tacos: A celebrity sensation

Founded by actor Danny Trejo, the iconic LA taco chain has opened a new Santa Monica storefront. Taking over the Le Pain Quotidien’s former location at 316 Santa Monica Blvd., the restaurant is now serving tacos, burritos, bowls and more Wednesday through Sunday.

“We have found most of our customers are interested in seeing Danny, exchanging some platitudes, and getting a picture with him, so Danny will be visiting most of the restaurants on Cinco de Mayo,” said founding partner Jeff Giorgino.

The menu is based on traditional Mexican recipes but has options for all kinds of dietary restrictions including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes. Some of Trejo’s favorite dishes include the pollo frito quesadilla, the carnitas tacos, and the steak asada burrito.