Lone Star Taco Bar

By Emily Nichols · 11/26/2016    Cambridge (+) · Tacos · $$

Well, all right, all right, all right. Between the ’70s rock on the stereo and our bartender’s handlebar mustache, we half-expected Dazed and Confused-era Matthew McConaughey to saunter on up beside us at Lone Star Taco Bar. He’d have fit right in with that sweet Southern drawl of his. Alas, he didn’t show—but Lone Star’s proprietors might want to consider bringing in real live Texans. At this point, it’s about the only thing they could do to enhance the Southwestern perfection these two bars are churning out.

Whether you decide to brave the B line for the original Allston outpost or cross over into Cambridge, you’ll find ridiculously delicious street-style Tex-Mex at either Lone Star location.  Grilled corn is slathered in cotija cheese and chili-lime aioli, huevos rancheros don’t retire after brunch, and happiness can be bought—for a mere $4. That’s the flat rate for most of Lone Star’s tacos. They’re bold (smoked brisket, spicy beef, beer-battered fish), deftly adorned (avocado crema, fresh mint, pickled red onion), and delivered to you lovingly cradled in house-made tortillas.

The crowd is young, the music is loud, and personal space is sparse. It’s a combination that, perhaps by design, inspires copious Margarita consumption. Make at least one of yours an El Diablo, laced with smoky mezcal and rimmed with dried chili salt. Or nerd out over agave with Lone Star’s extensive bar menu. This is the spot to sip mezcal made from wild agave that only grows beneath oak trees in Mexico’s high-altitude volcanic soils or an agave-maple spirit aged in oak barrels in Vermont. Once you’ve achieved a steady buzz, turn your attention to the Chili Con Queso and the guac. (Yes, you need both.) They arrive in minutes and are as you remember them, but somehow gloriously better.

There are no missteps to be had on Lone Star’s menu—but don’t overlook the nightly specials. You might, as we did, end up with a taco composed of pulled pork slow-stewed in pineapple juice, Scotch bonnet peppers, and a banana crema drizzle. Being good samaritans, we lobbied for this one to become a permanent fixture. If any readers have an update on that front, please alert us immediately.

There’s no room to mosey while waiting for a table. Mercifully, there are great watering holes a stone’s throw away to park after you put your name in. In Cambridge, head to Atwood’s Tavern or Loyal Nine. In Allston, hit up Deep Ellum (also run by the Lone Star folks) or the Silhouette Lounge.

This is where all of your Huevos Rancheros and Breakfast Taco dreams come true; brunch is served every single day from 11 to 4, and 10 to 4 on weekends. Torn between breakfast and lunch? Lone Star will toss an egg onto any of the regular menu selections for a dollar.

As the hours pass, Lone Star transforms into a bar each night, serving food until the wee hour of 1:30 a.m.

Must Haves

  • This one's a conversation killer. That is, you'll forget what you were saying when the juicy smoked brisket, pickled red onion, avocado crema, and cotija hits your lips.

  • Nothing stringy or soggy about this pork shoulder; instead, expect juicy chunks of meat with a caramelized surface beneath cilantro, queso fresco, and salsa verde.

  • If you turn your nose up at electric orange cheese in the real world, remember you’re in Texas tonight.

  • Leave your microbrews at the door. There’s a time and place for smoky and spicy concoctions with chili-lime salt rims, and this is it.

Fun Fact

Our bartender clued us in to the fact that the hundreds of tortillas Lone Star serves each week are all handmade by one lady. Bless her soul.

Tastes of Lone Star Taco Bar

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