One of the Miami Valley’s best taco joints is hidden in plain sight.
That’s right. Las Peñas Mexican Grocery & Restaurant at
215 Byers Road near the Dayton Mall has bomb tacos stuffed with juicy meat.
The fabulously low frill, family-owned business is in a small strip mall next to Dark Horse Tavern and across from the Red Roof Inn.
When I say low frills, I mean it. The menu is printed on simple grey paper.
You pay at the cash register in the grocery store. There were no chips and salsa.
When I say fabulous, I mean it.
Las Peñas opened in 2010, but flew below my radar until Jhembert “J.P.” Perdomo told my colleague Mark Fisher during an interview.
“Lisa and I love Las Peñas, a little hidden gem inside a grocery store in Miamisburg where you can get the best tacos in town. If you ever go there, make sure to say hi to Doña Juana — she is a sweet lady who reminds me of my grandma,” J.P., the co-owner of Arepas & Co. Colombian Comfort Food, told Fisher.
That’s high praise, and as I soon learned, well-earned.
An array of Mexican sodas, like Coca-Cola with real sugar, are available from a cooler.
A waitress did the rounds, but I ordered my tacos under a handwritten sign that reads “Order Here” in both English and Spanish.
Regular tacos come on two corn tortillas with your choice of meat with a heap of fresh white onion and cilantro for $2.69 each.
Taco meat choices include asada (beef); pollo (chicken); lengua (beef tongue); cabeza (beef head); tripa (beef intestines) (chorizo (Mexican sausage); barbacoa (braised beef); al pastor (marinated pork) and carnitas (braised pork).
So-called Taco Supremes are served American-style with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and sour cream for $3.25 each.
I tried three regular tacos with chorizo, barbacoa and carnitas.
Each came with a mountain of tender meat that the tortilla held up to.
I cleaned my plate after squeezing on lime and deliciously spicy chili sauces that lingered in my mouth.
The thick bits of barbacoa were a standout, with drizzles of spicy chili oil sauce and salsa verde.
Las Peñas’ menu also includes menudo (beef stomach soup), caldo de res (beef soup), enchiladas, tamales, fajitas, burritos and other dishes.
Las Peñas Mexican Grocery & Restaurant, 215 Byers Road in Miamisburg
Hours: open 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily.
Phone: 937-866-4457| Website: laspenasgrocery.com