‘World’s Largest Taco Tour’ comes to Manchester

The 'World's Largest Taco Tour' is coming to Manchester May 2. Cavan/Getty

By Katy Savage

May 1, 2024

The “World’s Largest Taco Tour”—also known as Taco Tour Manchester—will crunch its way into town on May 2 from 4-8 p.m. It’s free to attend, and if you get tempted by signature tacos from 60+ restaurants, you can indulge for just $3 each.

Elm Street will shut down between Granite and Bridge for the event. And even though it lasts just four delicious hours, Taco Tour Manchester has a big impact on the community:

  • Over 100,000 tacos from local restaurants are sold
  • Around 23,000 people attend
  • Nearly $1 million in economic value is brought to the area

Every type of food establishment you can imagine gets involved—Ben and Jerry’s even serves an ice cream nacho dip. And it’s not just restaurants that participate. The Manchester Fire Department also sells a smoked pulled pork taco. Get it—smoked?

The taco tour all started in 2011 and grew each year. It took a hiatus during COVID until 2022, when Cole Riel, the small business and community development director at Greater Manchester Chamber, insisted it come back. He pulled it together with the help of a $10,000 grant from the American Rescue Plan and sponsors.

“We truly have almost everything you can ask for in our downtown—for there to be one event that highlights all of that—it’s unique to our community,” Riel said.

Diz’s Cafe owner Judi Window starts planning the taco her restaurant will serve well in advance of the event.

“We start planning Taco Tour right after Taco Tour,” she said. “It takes about a year to plan just to make sure we’re thinking about everything we should.”

It’s a tough choice for restaurants to make something that’s competitive with the other tacos represented, but also reflects what customers want.

This year, she’s making a corn tortilla with ground beef, dizspenaca (a spinach dip), shredded lettuce, and homemade pico de gallo.

The Taco Tour is something special.

“It’s huge,” Window said. “It allows people to come downtown and experiment with different locations. It’s fun to be able to hop from place to place to place.”

The restaurants compete for two awards, voted by the attendees—“most creative taco” and “best taco.”

The best taco trophy was created by Manchester Community College’s advanced manufacturing department, and “it is a sight to behold,” Rield said, explaining it lights up and rotates.

BluAqua Restrobar won the most creative prize last year with an alligator and andouille sausage taco.

This year, the restaurant will serve a shark taco, with fresh grilled shark just caught and flown to New Hampshire.

Firefly American Bistro & Bar won best taco in 2022 and 2023. Last year, the restaurant made a chicken Chewbacca taco.

Kisaki Japanese Cuisine makes a sushi taco with a tempera fried seaweed shell.

815 Cocktails and Provisions will serve a slow-cooked chicken taco with Alabama white sauce.

“That’s the fun part of it, it just unlocks everyone’s creativeness,” Riel said. “The taco is an ideal vessel to do that.”

Events highlights:

  • There will be music at the intersection of Elm and Bridge streets starting at 4 p.m.
  • Harrison Goodell, a Portsmouth resident who competed on season 21 of American Idol, is taking the stage at 4 p.m.
  • Cody James & Joe and Joe Deleaule will play at 5 p.m.
  • deSol, a Latin-infused rock and roll band based in New Jersey, is headlining at 6 p.m.
  • Granite State Escape is doing a scavenger hunt during the event. Follow the clues and bring it to Granite State Escape for a prize.
  • Visit the Stonyfield Family Zone at the downtown YMCA to eat tacos and see Doug The Devil Stick Man perform his devil stick and comedy routine.
  • Dress your dog for the taco-themed event to compete in the doggy costume contest sponsored by the Manchester Animal Shelter.

More info:

Author

  • Katy Savage

    Katy Savage is an award-winning reporter with more than 10 years of experience working in daily, weekly and digital news organizations as both an editor and reporter. Based in Enfield, Katy is a New England native and has a passion for telling stories about where she grew up.

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