El Compadre Taco Shop

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It may not be the best Mexican food in the East County, but El Compadre’s Taco Shop is certainly one of the most convenient and accessible eateries, especially in the wee hours of the morning when most every other diner outside of Denny’s is closed up tight. And who hasn’t had a hankering for a Carne Asada Burrito at 1 a.m., anyway?

Food is certainly important, but one of the main things that sets this venue apart is, well, the venue itself.

It may not be the best Mexican food in the East County, but El Compadre’s Taco Shop is certainly one of the most convenient and accessible eateries, especially in the wee hours of the morning when most every other diner outside of Denny’s is closed up tight. And who hasn’t had a hankering for a Carne Asada Burrito at 1 a.m., anyway?

Food is certainly important, but one of the main things that sets this venue apart is, well, the venue itself.

Couched on the corner of Second Street and Oakdale (and I-8), more specifically, 595 N. Second St. the restaurant’s brightly-painted steep yellow roof seems like it was modeled after an early International House of Pancakes design.

Easily recognizable from the interstate or just driving along the main drag of El Cajon, the amber facility fairly beckons the peckish night owls, as well as those early birds who want to grab a breakfast burrito or two before heading off to work or school.

The attraction has been a landmark, of sorts, for over 25 years, and despite the seeming frivolous decorations, do not be mistaken, the bill of fare is top notch. Some of my favorite dishes include the simple ones: Chips, Cheese and Guacamole ($3.77), Carne Asada Chips ($6.30) or 10 Rolled Tacos (with Cheese and Guacamole, just $5.98).

Larger appetites may go for the combination plates, which feature Beef or Chicken or Fish Tacos, Enchiladas, Tostados, Carne Asada, Carnitas, Chile Verde, Chile Relleno, Chorizo, Machaco and Chimichangas, all with a generous serving of Rice and Beans and range from $6.21 to $7.13 (don’t ask me just HOW they came up with these price increments).
The Burritos are also a big hit, from Shrimp to Fish to Chicken to Beef to Bean and Cheese to Carne Asada from $2.30 to the Super Carne Asada at just $5.84.

Other menu items include Quesadillas, Tortas, Sopes, Flying Saucers, Mini Tacos and some amazing Carne Asada and Pollo Asada French Fries (the latter two at $6.30).

For more information, call (619) 588-4816 or visit www.elcompadretacoshop.com.