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Monday, July 13, 2015

Lunch with Lian Episode 2: Tilly's Tacos

Hey Viewers, Welcome to my blog!

Today in the second episode of Lunch with Lian, Ashlee and I visited Tilly’s Tacos on Sixth Street in Corona.

I was really excited to finally schedule this interview with the manager, Sean. Corona is buzzing about this new restaurant, but on some Facebook pages, I have seen some pretty horrible comments about Tilly’s. People have complained about under-cooked meat, poor management response to complaints and honestly, downright rudeness over the phone. My family has eaten take out from here a lot and we hadn’t noticed these kinds of things. I was eager to dine in and see how the experience might be different.

My cousin Ashlee joined us again and we had a great time ordering different items from the menu and checking them out. Tilly’s Menu is very basic taco stand with prices ranging from $1.99 for the carne asada taco to $5.99 for chile colorado burrito (but no tamales). Cheese on a few of the menu items is extra. You can also order sides of chips, rice or beans. There is an extensive fresh salsa bar or you can order large portions of the salsa and guacamole for $1.99-$7.99.

For our lunch we ordered two crunchy taco specials (one chicken, one beef), each comes with a large drink and chips. Ashlee ordered a cheese quesadilla and Dad got a chile colorado burrito. I got the super nachos. We also tried out the different salsas from the salsa bar.

With a couple of minor exceptions, the food was absolutely fantastic. The grilled quesadilla usually comes with either mild or spicy salsa, but we didn’t get any on ours. It was still good. The tortilla on dad's burrito was just kind of folded over rather than tucked in, so it fell apart pretty quickly. That did make it easier to eat with the fresh chips though. Finally, Mom felt the pico de gallo had gone stale, either from being old or the salsa bar not being cold enough or maybe the ice not deep enough.

Tilly's is a really new place, but the main tables and chairs are kind of knocked around and wobbly. I think that is a great way to make it seem less like a new spot and more like a place that has been around a while. Even so, I have to say that the food was really super good, but it might be better to get it to go. First of all it takes a really long time to come to the table. It is all made fresh to order, even the crunchy tacos are made fresh before they are frozen, to be deep fried later. Then, the presentation isn’t really all that nice. The food itself looks great, the tacos are full and cheesy, the quesadilla was grilled to perfection and the chips were fresh and warm. However, they are all served in plain cardboard to go boxes that take up all the table space and don’t really look appetizing (and not very eco-friendly either since a family of four can leave a mountain of trash behind).

Our taco specials were served with both orders of chips in one box (which came out right away when we sat down) and both tacos, which came much later, after we had eaten most of the chips, were served in a single box. That made it hard for two people to eat their tacos without one making a big mess on the table. We used the box my dad's burrito came in to split them up. Each item came out as it was made. Fresh and hot, sure, but it meant that the first person was done eating before the last person got their food.

Finally, the super nachos (Mount Nachos, I call them) are also served in one of the cardboard to go boxes. It is all kinds of layers of chips and beans and nacho cheese and meat. The problem is that the box gets soggy and it is hard to really enjoy the layers since you kind of have to eat straight down because of the sides of the box. They are totally delicious any way you eat them, though they could really use a dollop of sour cream.

We really enjoyed our lunch, but we did notice some issues. Some customers got frustrated at how long their to go orders were taking. Others had to repeat their order because a ticket hadn’t been made to tell the cooks what to cook. Finally, it was really loud in there. Both because of the music in the kitchen area and the blowers over the fryers.

Tilly’s Tacos has only been open in Corona for 5 months so they still have plenty of room for growth. IF they can stem some of the customer service growing pains, their great food gives them the potential to lure away some of the legions of loyal Coronan customers from the tried and true Mexican food mainstays like Miguel’s Jr and Tudy’s Taqueria, (true competition since both are across the street from Tilly’s with larger dining areas and are much more easily accessible from traffic on sixth street).

 You can find Tilly's Tacos at 1034 W. 6th Street #105 Corona 92882 - 951-393-0212 - behind the lingerie store. Just look for the banners.

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