Little Caboose offers big freight

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The Little Caboose Taco Shop has been around since 1976 and don’t let the name fool you: except for the size of the place, Little Caboose is anything but little. 

The history, the recipes, the portions and the amiability are anything but small-scale.

The Little Caboose Taco Shop has been around since 1976 and don’t let the name fool you: except for the size of the place, Little Caboose is anything but little. 

The history, the recipes, the portions and the amiability are anything but small-scale.

Gregory Savala (named after Gregory Peck), welcomed us and immediately infused us with the history of the famous taco shop that has been around for more than 35 years.  Savala’s maternal grandparents migrated to Houston from Mexico for only five cents and his grandmother opened a tortilla factory where his mom, Evangelina, hung out after school. 

In the early 1970s, Greg’s dad moved his mom and family to Buena Park from Compton and laid brick for many of the McDonald’s facilities in Orange County.  So, although Gregory said the family didn’t have any restaurant experience, it was destiny for his mom to open Little Caboose.

Evangelina, who locals called Mama, opened the taco shop without a register or reserve cash.  The previous owner let Mama borrow his old register on the first day and $386 later, Little Caboose was born.

Mama passed away in 2001 but her children (Gregory, John Joseph, Kenneth and Evangelina) kept the shop going with the narration of the family history, devotion to Mama’s recipes, pride in running a business and the warmth to feed the community.

We ordered a combo plate, fish taco, shredded beef taco and carnitas taco.  Then I mentioned Opal, the person who recommended the eatery, and immediately Greg sold me on the shredded beef enchilada, which is Opal’s favorite, he said.  He also said as a first timer that I must also try the potato taco – “Kenny’s potato taco” – named after his brother, who insisted on tacos one Thanksgiving Day.

The carnitas taco, garnished with cilantro, onion and tomato, was the best I have ever had.  The pork was tender, juicy and had a crusty texture on the ends.  It was beyond lip smacking.  I ate the entire portion and had to resist taking a pound of carnitas to go.

The shredded beef enchilada with cheese and onion is smothered with Mama’s famous special sauce which has a cheesy, tomato taste – simply delectable – and consistency like a heavy soup.

The potato taco is the best deal around at $1.29.  Stuffed with a healthy amount of mashed potatoes, seasoned with Country Crock spread and topped with lettuce, sour cream, and cheese, it will render you speechless and wanting more.

A couple of side notes: the beans in the combination plate were refried but not pasty and you know you are getting beans.  And if you’re a fan of menudo, regulars recommend it and it’s served seven days a week.

Little Caboose

2952 W. Ball Road

Anaheim, CA 92804

714-995-4230