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Best in the Wichita Metro Taco Challenge 2022: How does Road Runner rate?

Road Runner Mexican Fast Food
2420 Oliver, Wichita, KS 67210

By Mike Thayer

Who makes the best tacos in the Wichita Metro?

Traveling around the ICT, I'm sampling the taco offerings from just about any joint that has tacos on the menu.  It doesn't really matter who, I'll be eating tacos from local joints, regional restaurants and the national chains.  To determine a true champion of tacos in the metro, a broad sampling has to be taken in order to measure the best.  I'm on a mission in the name of "taco science" (cough). 

For today's Taco lunch I traveled to Road Runner Mexican Food, the Oliver location.  Marketed as Mexican Fast Food, this is a taco joint that started off as a Food Truck operation that has gone brick & mortar.  In addition to the location at 2420 Oliver, Wichita, KS 67210 (their newest, taking over the spot that used to be Walt's Klassics), they can be found at 5255 N Maize Rd #110, Maize, KS 67101 (their first brick & mortar) and in Derby at 123 S Baltimore Ave, Derby, KS 67037.

Roadrunner Mexican Fast Food
An order of assorted tacos

Hitting the drive-thru a bit before 11:30am, there were two vehicles ahead of me in line.  The line moved fast, before I was done listening to Don Henley's The Boys of Summer on Classic Rock station 104.5 The Fox, it was my turn to order.   Out of the norm and eating a bit of breakfast early in the day, I went light this lunch, ordering the Carne Asada, Barbacoa, and Al Pastor tacos.  From the time I pulled in line to the time I received my order was about five minutes.

The smells were quite enticing on the drive home, even with the windows down on this beautiful day.  Just minutes away, I was able to handle the aroma tease.  Plopping down my keys after entering my house and parking it at the dining table, I dove in...

Roadrunner Taco
Witnessing your tortilla about to give is kind of like watching a dam break...

I sampled the Carne Asada first.  The corn tortilla fell apart in taking that first bite.  The meat had good flavor, but the beef wasn't the most tender I've had so far in this Challenge.  In fact, more than a few pieces of beef had gristle, a bit of a let down. The Pico de Gallo was OK, a bit shy on the cilantro and a lime squeeze was definitely needed to provide more freshness and acid balance to the meat.  Next, I sampled the Barbacoa, my favorite of the three tacos.  This one had the most tender meat compared to the other two, a result of the slow cook approach to this taco type.  But again, a repeated theme here, not the most tender Barbacoa I've had so far in the Challenge.  The corn tortilla did not hold up from first bite to last.  This taco too was a bit shy on the dress, lacking in enough onion and cilantro notes to balance out the richness of the seasoned meat.  The Al Pastor, like the Carne Asada was a bit tough.  It had good flavor, but as far as the pork being nice and tender, not so much...   and once again, I found myself squeezing lime to kick the lackluster Pico de Gallo up another notch. This tortilla was the fall apart worst of the bunch.  Granted, it was the last taco consumed so it had more time to soak up meat and dress juices, but c'mon, I'm convinced what I got was not the freshest of tortillas, they certainly didn't get any kind of pre-assembly warmup treatment. 

Roadrunner Soft Taco Breakage
Complete shell breakage imminent...

Costing me $9.95 for an assortment of three, the Road Runner line-up of tacos scored 52 out of a possible 63 points, earning 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  All the meats had good flavor, but tenderness, underwhelming dress and not-so-fresh tortillas prevented a higher score.  The price was reasonable, slightly below the average of $3.69 a taco on a non-taco Tuesday.  I only sampled three tacos during this visit.  I usually also try to sample fish, chicken and chorizo tacos if those options are on the menu, but I hesitate to say I'll give those other Road Runner taco options a shot based on the tenderness, dress and tortilla factors.  It's early in the Challenge, but I've already had better tacos elsewhere.  This was a first time visit to Road Runner for me, I'll chalk it up to an off day?

4 stars

Located at 2420 Oliver, Wichita, KS 67210, the drive thru at Road Runner is quick, living up to the Mexican Fast Food tag line.  Service was friendly and efficient.

$pend Wisely My Friends...

Related:  Other Taco Joints Reviewed So Far

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