Taco Shop - Cape May, NJ

Summer weather has officially arrived and all along the eastern seaboard, throngs of city dwellers are descending en masse to the refreshing salve of crisp ocean water.  The Sophisticated Eater is not exempt from the allure of an ice cold spritzer by the shore and so arrived in Cape May for a weekend of relaxation and rejuvenation.

One of the things a SE must always prepare for when headed to a seaside destination is substandard, oily, dairy-laden food (The SE will fess up to an occasional indulgence of boardwalk fries - the vinegar! the old bay!). This inevitably translates to more than a few protein bars and homemade sandwiches. Luckily, The SE has discovered the ultimate post-beach treat on the outskirts of Cape May proper which manages to somehow serve up a hearty yet light enough meal that an eater could still eat dinner later.

The Taco Shop is located in a newly renovated strip of warehouse-turned-retail property, right next to the Cape May brewery and local airport. A huge mound of mystery dirt lay haphazardly to the side of the building while huge concrete tubes lay neatly in the back.

Despite its busy exterior, the Taco Shop somehow manages to transport its eaters to a world where carefully groomed handlebar mustaches and appropriately vintaged tees run rampant. Large handpainted flowers and strands of garden lights twinkled against muted gray brick walls. In a show of eater restraint (The SE has found that ordering the whole menu is usually frowned upon), The SE decided on the brisket tacos (sans creamy chimichurri) and chicken tamales.

The SE mosied towards the back of the restaurant and trilled enthusiastically upon discovering that the dining area opened up to a large back patio. Picnic tables sat invitingly and the sounds of boisterous laughter wafted over the wall from the brewery next door.

Just as The SE began eyeing the kitchen expectantly, a friendly taco artiste arrived at the table.

The sight of heaping brisket tacos brought a tear to The SE's eye. Generous chunks of brisket sat inside of a soft cornmeal shell and were decoratively topped with tomatoes, sliced radish, pickled onions, and a dollop of guacamole. A squeeze of lime added just the right splash of tangy-ness to the savory-sour mix.

The tamales were the cherry on top of a worthy SE meal. Creamy, dairy-free cornmeal with chunks of fresh chicken were packed into a banana leaf and baked to perfection. A mild salsa verde was melded into the cornmeal and when mixed together with The Taco Shop's homemade hot sauce, added a depth and touch of saltiness to an item that some eaters find bland.

The SE sat back and took inventory. Plates were licked clean and not a speck of guacamole remained. The SE was full yet mildly tempted to order more tacos. Calling upon the aforementioned eater restraint, The SE stood up and marched purposefully towards the front door. Until next time, Taco Shop.

Taco Shop is open daily from 11:30am - 8:30pm in Cape May.

Pinky's up, fellow SE's!

Connect w/ The SE


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