One thing we have noticed since moving to NWA over 12 years ago is people here love their Tex-Mex.  And we do too.  However,

Hidden Gems: Taqueria Real Jacona comes to Bentonville

by Monica Whitaker

One thing we have noticed since moving to NWA over 12 years ago is people here love their Tex-Mex. And we do too. However, many of the local chains have all the ingredients sitting pre-cooked in the backroom, and just throw them together in different combinations based on what you order. That can leave the meat somewhat dry, flavorless, and luke warm which is why so much sauce and cheese covers everything. Why not opt for some home-made authentic Mexican that is cooked only after you order?

Taqueria Real Jacona, with their first location in Rogers, just opened a 2nd location in Bentonville at 2308 SE 28th Street, Bentonville, AR 72712 (Map It).

Asada, Chorizo, and Carnitas tacos for lunch with a Mexican Sprite in a bottle. Muy Rico!
The restaurant is owned by Jesus Andrade who immigrated from Jacona, Michoacan, Mexico 14 years ago (where the restaurant gets its name). What drew me to this restaurant, besides the food which I will address shortly, is their restaurant is a family affair. Being Spanish, our sense of family transcends everything we do, and that is clearly embodied at Real Jacona. Besides Jesus, you will find Luiz Maria (Jesus' wife), Andres (son), Jose Juan (son), Mario (son), Jesus (brother-in-law), and Leticia (daughter) all working the restaurant. Based on my numerous visits, it is clear they take pride in their business and your satisfaction. Anytime you walk in, you will see the entire family in the open kitchen bringing freshly cooked food to each person they serve. All their main courses are home-made, even their chorizo which is some of the best I have had.

For lunch, you can't beat their Mexican tacos. Two tacos are more than enough for most adults as they stuff them with the meat of your choice, along with cilantro and onions. They will make them with corn tortillas or "gringo" style with flour. You can order them individually for as little as $1.75 each. They have all the traditional meats such as asada, carnitas, chorizo, barbacoa, lingua, etc. but where they really shine is their al pator (marinated pork). Juicy and flavorful, this is hands down my favorite lunch taco in town. They also have burritos, tortas, quesadillas, menudo, and more in the event you aren't in the mood for tacos.

Real Jacona is also one of our favorite breakfast places to eat on weekends. Although they are busy at times, we have yet to wait for a table. They make an excellent Mexican sausage and eggs (chorizo). They will also make more traditional things like ham & eggs, bacon, etc. for the kids. What my kids love is they bring each person a basket of fresh hot tortillas (corn or flour) that you scoop your egg concoction in. Even at breakfast you can expect to get chips and salsa before your meal along with beans and rice with your meal.

The best part about Real Jacona? The value. For our family of 5, we routinely pay $60-80 at chain restaurants. Even a basic sandwich shop combo for all 5 will costs us $45-50. Everytime we eat at Jacona, it costs $25 - 35 or ~$6 - 7 per person (significantly less than a chain restaurant with twice the food, flavor, and service). The quesadillas (with a significant amount of meat of choice) are HUGE and my kids could honestly split one if we wanted to save more moeny.

So the next time you and your co-workers are hungry, give Taqueria Jacona a try. I have taken dozens of business people there for lunch and everyone raves about the food. You won't be disappointed!

Note: If you know of some hidden gems, please tell us and we will definitely check them out for a future article.

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