RENTON, Wash. — Taco Time is the winner of Best Taco in 2022's Best of Western Washington viewer's poll.
This Northwest company has been around since 1962 when Frank Tonkin Senior opened his first Taco Time in White Center, Washington.
But 2022 is the first time Taco Time Northwest has been given a certificate declaring them the winner in the Best of Western Washington for Best Taco — and they weren’t expecting the reward at all.
"Are you serious? I didn't know that's what we were doing today — thanks for the warning!” said Co-President Robby Tonkin when Evening’s Jim Dever surprised him and Co-President Chris Tonkin with the award.
We visited under false pretenses, telling them we wanted to do a story on this longtime local company. These cousins are the 4th generation to run this company that “Great Grandpa Frank” launched back when getting a taco was an exotic way to spend 34 cents.
“People called it a 'tayco.’ They didn't even know how to pronounce taco at the time,” Chris said.
Today, folks can find anything from shrimp and fish tacos to soft tacos to that classic hard shell taco with beef at this temple of tacos.
"A lot of work goes into that taco,” Chris said. “We make the tortilla. We grate the cheese, we dice the tomato, we shred the lettuce, we cook the beef and chicken throughout the day.”
Each Taco Time NW also makes their own guacamole and hot sauce in house, and even cooks their own beans. They’ve been making tacos for 60 years, and this Western Washington chain is still going strong.
"We are honored and humbled. I've been watching the Evening show for, I don't know, 30 years? And I've seen other people get these. I think our people put so much love into that food. We have an amazing team,” said Robby, who added that some employees have been with the company for 30, even 40 years. That’s a lot of Taco Time!