Finally, a new review from Steph! Remember this the next time you take your monkeys to Nashville.
San Antonio Taco Co
416 21st Ave S
Nashville, TN 37203
San Antonio Taco Company (SATCO) is one of my favorite places to eat. It used to be standard fare on our way out of Nashville any time we went to see the in-laws. (Or my boyfriend’s parents, depending on what year the visit took place.) Somehow this tradition has fallen off in the past three years or so, so I was delighted when Chip’s sister, Cory, suggested we eat there on our recent visit.
SATCO is a small, loud restaurant with a huge, inviting deck. At least, it’s inviting at any time other than the middle of August. The fans that make the deck bearable early in the summer were no match for the 100-degree heat, so we made our way inside. As usual, we were greeted by very loud classic rock music and a host of people shouting to be heard over “Dream Police.” (They live inside of my head!) Although the atmosphere leaves something to be desired if you are looking for serious conversation, it is perfect for a family with two children. Especially if the two children tend to reject the concept of “inside voice.”
As you enter SATCO, you are confronted by a ledge full of order sheets and pencils. Once you make your selections, you pay the cashier, get your drink, and wait for your name to be called. I left that task up to Chip as I went to secure seating for eight (in attendance were Roy, Sherri, Cory, Chris, and the four of us). Soon Chip came over to the table, order sheet still in his hand. “What are we getting for Connor?” I suddenly remembered that our once-frequent visits had ceased because the menu has absolutely nothing that Connor (age 4) finds acceptable. He was absolutely panicking as Chip and I frantically went over the menu looking for anything resembling a quesadilla or a chicken nugget. I ordered a Sprite to pacify him until I could come up with a better solution. Once most of the family was seated and waiting on their fabulous Tex-Mex, I bit the bullet and walked next door to Panera Bread Company. (I love this place, and wish they would open one in Memphis.) I quickly scanned the children’s menu and decided on a PB&J with “all-natural peanut butter” on homemade white whole grain bread, served with organic squeeze-tube yogurt and organic milk. Not exactly a bargain at $4.99, but better than listening to Connor whine over the considerable din inside SATCO. And really better for him than any of the food inside SATCO, but who am I who to reject a restaurant just because the food isn’t healthy?
I got back to a table full of (non-organic) food. As always, it was delicious. Our table had guacamole, cheese dip, and beans to share, and I had my standard meal of one steak and one chicken fajita. The chicken was the better of the two, but they were both remarkable. Everything was seasoned just right, and as always the fresh-made tortillas were perfection. My only complaint ever is that they only have super-chunky salsa, when I prefer the runny kind of salsa. (I can just barely tolerate tomatoes, and that’s only when they are in pureed form.) It’s a minor complaint. Cory and I agreed that if we had gone to Vanderbilt (across the street), we would have doubled our body weight from eating and drinking at SATCO.
Chloe (17 months) ate a bite of everything at the table, but since she has recently slowed down her eating she didn’t fill up on anything in particular. She did drink all of the milk that came with the Panera meal. Connor ate half the sandwich and half the yogurt and decided, against his better judgment, that he liked the cheese dip and chips. A new food has been added to the “Acceptable” list! Hallelujah!
We didn’t venture into the bathrooms on this trip, but I can tell you that they are small and dingy (just like the rest of the inside of the restaurant). They are fine if you are a college student who’s had a few beers, but not so great for diaper changing. We changed Chloe’s diaper in the car before going in, and I have many memories of changing Connor inside our car out in the parking lot. There might be a diaper-changing station in the bathrooms by now, but I didn’t get a chance to check.
Despite the fact that I had to order food from two different restaurants in order to make this restaurant outing work, I felt it was a success. (Those of you who disagree should please open up the discussion in the comments section.) We all left full and happy, and Connor not only tried something new, but liked it. Cheese dip may seem like a small step to you, but it’s a pretty remarkable one for our family. The trip to Panera, with their organic yogurt and homemade whole grain bread selection, did highlight just how unhealthy the SATCO was. But while I’d like to eat at Panera with the kids sometime soon, I can’t imagine ever standing in front of SATCO and another restaurant and choosing anything other than yummy, greasy goodness of SATCO.