When exploring the Hudson Valley and Catskills regions it's not a bad idea to have a goal, or a guide. How's this for a worthy quest? Eat as many tacos, in as many cool towns up and down the valley as you can. I mean, who doesn't love a taco - or six? Whether you like them soft shell, crisp shell, corn or flour, there's a taco, or twenty, for you! And tacos are THE perfect food-tour food! They're small, and they're usually served up fast, so you can sample a taco at each taco stop and it will be ages before you begin to feel like it's all a little too much. That is, as long as you don't wash each taco down with a Margarita.
The Great Hudson Valley Taco Trail
I had no idea how much we at Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty collectively love tacos. I put out a call for everyone's recommendations, and within seconds every device I own started beeping at me! Then the debates began. The restaurants on this list all got multiple mentions from our team of over 100 taco eaters. So, here it is, The Great Hudson Valley Taco Trail, a loop from NYC through Northern Westchester, Dutchess, Columbia, Greene, Ulster and Orange Counties, put together with enthusiasm, and well-worn by the hungry Real Estate Agents at Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty.
Stop 1: The Taco Dive Bar - Peekskill
We're going to start out on the east side of the river in Peekskill. I know, you're barely out of the city! But, come ON, you NEED a taco, and this is a great spot to get one. I eat here frequently because I like to people watch while I sip a not-too-sweet margarita that's been made from scratch using my choice of one of the 20 or so tequilas and mezcals at The Taco Dive Bar. Since it's right across from the train station and the waterfront park there's plenty of action going on. There's non-human scenery here too. Round-about cocktail time the sunset over the Hudson serves as a backdrop to Carole Feuerman's The Golden Mean. Pictures DO NOT do this sculpture any justice. It's super-cool, particularly in its scale. It's about two and a half times the size of a person, and as the clouds roll by, it seems to sway a bit as though it were a giant balancing just before it flips into the water. I have a great appreciation for its contribution to the Taco "Dive" Bar's pun-nie name too. It's roll-your-eyes clever. Get the pork belly taco. (photos, including header photo, via taco dive bar instagram)
Stop 2. Hudson Valley Taco Festival - Beacon
Ok, you can't always hit this because it's a once a year event - but it's coming up, so we had to put it in. This year the Hudson Valley Taco Festival is on the Beacon waterfront, June 22nd from 1-5:30. Tickets and details here.
Stop 3. Cancun's Family Restaurant - Red Hook
People LOVE this place. No less than five of our agents waxed poetic about it - "hands down the best!". Head up the Valley from Beacon and through Rhinebeck; Cancun's is right in the village of Red Hook. It has a chipper family atmosphere and it's a great spot to watch a soccer game. They've got a full mexican menu too, so if you want tacos and chimichangas and fajitas and you're planning on finishing your tour here, you're good!
Stop 4. Mexican Radio - Hudson
Head north into Columbia County and pay a visit to Hudson where you'll find Mexican Radio. I have no IDEA who the funny little mascot above is, but I DO know he's pointing at a good taco place! Mexican Radio has been in Hudson since before it was "Hudson". This was the first place I ever ate carnitas - mind blowing. I love everything about Mexican radio, from the fact that I can eat there with my vegetarian and vegan friends and still get some meat (they also have gluten-free options) , to the great orange color of the interior of the classic Hudson building. If you want something to go with those tacos try the chile rellenos. (photo via mexican radio on instagram)
Stop 5. Gracie's Luncheonette - Catskill/Leeds
Cross the Rip Van Winkle Bridge to Catskill on the west side of the river. Think you're half way through your tour? Well, not really, there's a lot more taco density on the west side of the Hudson - Catskills people love a taco too! We'll start with Gracie's Luncheonette. We've talked about their doughnuts, pie, and crazy egg sandwiches before here, but now it's time to talk taco. Gracie's does Thursday night tacos with a full menu of taco choices including their house-made choco taco (hello!) . Everything at Gracie's is always super-fresh and super-delicious. Some taco makers leave you wanting more sauce - Gracie's gets it. Grab a napkin because there's plenty of sauce to go around. (photos via gracie's on instagram)
Stop 6: New York Restaurant - Catskill
New York Restaurant won several "Best of Greene County Awards" for their new American cuisine this year. We were at the ceremony to accept our own "Best Of" award, and as we watched them go up to the podium again and again, we began to understand why; they are both serious and fun-loving about their food. They are exactly the kind of people you want crafting you a taco. New York Restaurant does Taco Tuesdays and they're dog friendly (so you can bring your dog along and torture him with the scent of a fried fish taco) .
Hmmm, Taco Tuesdays at New York Restaurant, and Taco Thursdays at Gracie's... if you're a Catskillian, your taco week is filling up! In fact, if you were to make your own tacos at home a couple of times a week, you might be able to achieve the almost inconceivable, taco-burnout! Nah, that'll never happen. (photo via new york restaurant on instagram)
Stop 7: Main Street Restaurant Southwestern Grill - Saugerties
Cross the border (between Greene County and Ulster County) and head into the Village of Saugerties; first stop, Main Street Restaurant. This was another Village Green Agent favorite! Right on Main Street in Saugerties "Main Street Restaurant" has tacos all week long. Also, their black beans and rice ROCK. The ambiance is a great combo of old-school and new-school kitsch and if you go in for birthday celebration/embarrassment you can slap on a giant sombrero and let everyone know it's your special day, and you want some TACOS! (photo via main street restaurant)
Stop 8: El Rancho - Saugerties
El Rancho gets a lot of "solid", "delicious", and "consistent" reviews on yelp and it's been a Saugerties staple for years. So, if your palate leans more towards a simple steak taco than towards a spicy korean bbq taco, make El Rancho a stop on your tour.
Stop 9: Diego's Taqueria - Kingston
Oh, how I love Diego's! First, it's right down the street from our Kingston office (halleluia) , second, they use super-fresh, locally sourced ingredients, third, they have a lot of tacos to choose from on the regular menu and they always have some creative specials to round out the selection. Also, they double-tortilla their tacos. This is so handy! Sometimes you've got a juicy taco that needs two tortillas; sometimes they pile enough taco filling onto your taco, that you can turn it into two tacos. Double tortilla-ing - it's a good thing. Great atmosphere, great cocktails, I say "yum" to Diego's. (photos via diego's on instagram)
Stop 10: Santa Fe Uptown - Kingston
Almost all of us had one of Santa Fe's three locations on our list. Santa Fe opened their first restaurant in Tivoli, where they were wildly successful, and now they have locations in Kingston and Woodstock too. The fish tacos get rave reviews from our agents, and they have some really delicious dinner salads, plus warm marinated olives (so good) . Like Mexican Radio, this is a good place for the vegetarian/vegan set. They have plenty of options that are specifically crafted for those with dietary restrictions (in other words, you won't be stuck with a sad bean taco with a spritz of lettuce just because you're not eating meat today) . Here's a hot tip, try the buffalo cauliflower tacos! (photo via santa fe uptown)
Stop 11: Mole Mole - Kingston
By now you might be needing a little stroll to walk off all those tacos! So, take a walk on the Rondout waterfront until you're ready for more, and then stop in at Mole Mole; good tacos, good fried plantains, and good upstate people watching! (photo via mole mole)
Stop 12: Tinker Taco Lab - Woodstock
Oh my gosh, is THIS place a sight for sore eyes after a good hike up Overlook Mountain in Woodstock! Tinker Taco Lab is tucked behind Peace Love & Cupcakes on Tinker Street and has the laid back funky vibe you'd expect of a Woodstock Taco place. You can order at the counter and then eat on a stool, or go outside to the stream-side courtyard and listen as the sounds of nature, and those of a bustling small town commingle. It's kind of Heaven. Oh, and the tacos are really, really good. Thursday night is $5 taco night - ka-ching! (photo via tinker taco lab on facebook)
Stop 13: Mexican Kitchen - New Paltz
Are tacos the new pizza? If the taco density in the college town of New Paltz is any indication, the answer is "yes"! There was a lively debate amongst our New Paltz agents about which New Paltz restaurant had the best tacos. I was unable to suss out a clear winner - so you'd best hit them all.
New Paltz's Mexican Kitchen is aptly named. Inside a little two story house on a side street in New Paltz you'll find this delightful Mexican Restaurant. Wipe your feet so that you don't scratch the wide-board floors and relax into a kitchen chair at one of the farmhouse tables - you'll feel exactly like you're sitting in your best friend's kitchen. (photo via Mexican Kitchen)
Stop 14: Mexicali Blue - New Paltz
Mexicali Blue is known for its takeout - largely because it has seating for about five people, three of them should be small children if you don't want to bump elbows. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't get a taco there and find someplace in New Paltz to eat it! They grill everything up fresh and right in front of you. If don't care about being a grill voyeur, you can order online and then swing in and grab your mexican goodness. They make their own hot sauces - and they are awesome, so make sure to ask them to pack you up a couple. (photo via tripadvisor.com)
Stop 15: Taco Shack - New Paltz
It's a little pink shack on the top of the hill on Main Street New Paltz. It's the "home of the giant burrito", but taco is in its name and in its little pink soul. Grab a taco on the way out of town because we're headed down south to Orange County. Visit The Taco Shack.
Last Stop On Our Hudson Valley Taco Trail
Stop 16: Caborca's - Montgomery
Our Orange County agents unanimously recommended Caborca's. They say the tacos are delish, the portions are large, and you will leave with your wallet only slightly lighter than before. I've never been, but I think I'm going to head there now because it will give me a really good excuse to say "Caborca's" several dozen times in the car! So fun!
Let us know your favorite spots along the trail. We'd love your feedback!
Amy Wallace - Marketing Director
Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty