When Austin-based Torchy’s Tacos roared into the Mile High City, it brought a Texas-size reputation with it. I was eager to try these self-described “damn good” tacos for myself—but of course, by the time my boyfriend and I made our way to the Broadway eatery, the rest of Denver was already lined up. We stood in the snaking queue for more than 30 minutes before reaching the counter.

But one house-made chip dipped into the legendary green chile queso—it’s the first thing people ask about when you mention Torchy’s—proved the wait had been worth it. Daubed with guacamole, queso fresco, and a squeeze of diablo sauce, this cheesy combo was smooth and tangy—and we finished it quickly.

Next came the tacos. We ordered the Independent, the Wrangler, and the Trailer Park, and I can say without reservation I’d take the Independent, a flour tortilla filled with crispy fried portobello mushrooms, refried black beans, spicy pickled carrots, avocado, corn, queso fresco, and ancho aïoli, over a meaty taco any day. The crunchy, hearty mushroom strips perfectly contrasted the creamy avocado and tart carrot blend. My boyfriend gobbled up the Wrangler (a skilletlike combo of scrambled eggs, brisket, Jack cheese, and potatoes drizzled with tomatillo sauce), despite it being about 10 hours past breakfast.

Fair warning: Any place peddling fried chicken, pico de gallo, green chiles, and queso folded into a tortilla (that’s the Trailer Park, ordered “trashy,” i.e., with queso) isn’t going for authenticity. No, Torchy’s is an ode to over-the-top Tex-Mex cuisine. Hurry, before the line gets even longer.

Our Favorites

Green Chile queso and chips: $5.25

The Wrangler: $3.50

The Independent: $3.50

The Trailer Park: $3.75

House margarita: $5.50