Taco John’s – Bourbonnais, IL
J and I had some vacation days we had to burn before the end of the year, so we set it up so we would both have a long weekend. I took Friday and Saturday off, while she took Monday and Tuesday. For the first time in a really long time, we didn’t leave Kalamazoo at midnight to make the trip back to the Chicago area. Instead, we left around noon after J got off of work.
Last time we went home, the car ride was pretty awful. L didn’t really sleep at all and she was either teething or had an ear ache because she cried most of the way. We were really hoping that didn’t happen again….and it didn’t. In fact, she was the exact opposite. She watched The Wiggles for the longest time then fell asleep about an hour and a half from my parents.
Unfortunately, I missed my exit on I-294 and had to get off on surface streets to get back to I-57. When I did that, L woke up. She still didn’t fuss and it actually worked out better for us. We wanted to stop in Bourbonnais at a fast food taco place that we can’t find in Michigan. Had she stayed asleep, we wouldn’t have stopped, but since she was awake, we took the short detour.
I don’t believe I’ve ever written about Taco John’s on this blog, but on my old one, I did get one entry. You see, Taco John’s really isn’t all that different from any other fast food taco place. They have food that is sort of Mexican, but not really. In fact, they don’t even try to hide that referring to their food as “West-Mex” instead of Mexican.
Like a lot of places back home, there’s a story to this one as well. When J and I lived in the Peoria, IL area, we would drive by a Taco John’s on our way to work everyday. I always stopped there on Tuesday, but they have “Taco Tuesday” specials (now taco’s are $.79. I think they were a little cheaper five years ago when I was stopping). J always stopped when she had to go to work at 1 AM. It was one of the few places open that late as even McDonalds wasn’t quite on their 24/7 schedule yet.
The Taco John’s we were able to pull off at on our way home was in Bourbonnais, IL on Latham Drive just north of IL-45/52. They play on the American Southwest theme in their building design, but really, it’s a typical fast food taco place. I stepped up first to order knowing exactly what I wanted. Six crispy tacos. J got herself a cheese quesadilla to share with L as well as a Potatoes Ole and a Churro. We added two large drinks from the Pepsi fountain to round out our bill at a little over $20.
Since L was still being good, we wanted to get back on the road. My nieces were at my parents house anxiously awaiting our arrival and both J and I were ready to be done with driving.
I wasn’t going to attempt to eat tacos while driving so I had to wait. J didn’t have a problem eating in the car and she sat in the back with L so she could share. L loved the quesadilla. She went to town on the triangle J gave her. If J wasn’t so hungry herself, she may have held back another piece, but she really didn’t think L would polish the whole triangle off. The Potato Ole’s were J’s alone. They’re kind of like Tater Tots, but specially seasoned. These were J’s favorite thing about Taco John’s and what she always looked forward to ordering for her late night meals.
The churro was also just for J. If you’re familiar with what a churro is, you won’t be too surprised by Taco John’s version. It’s a long, fried piece of dough covered with cinnamon sugar.
When we got to my parents a half hour later, I couldn’t wait to dig in to my tacos. For some reason, Taco John’s tacos were always my favorite. If they were next door to the other taco chains, I would pick Taco John’s 10 out of 10 times. They don’t seem as dry as the other places and the meat has a much better flavor to it.
Taco John’s is one of those places I really miss now that there isn’t one anywhere near me. In fact, this one in Bourbonnais, IL is probably the closest to Kalamazoo. I guess it’s just going to be a treat on those days that we actually have time to stop in Kankakee County on our way home.