History of the Taco

Happy Taco Tuesday!

Despite the widespread popularity of the taco, historians have declared its origins to be murky — read on to discover the story of America’s favorite Mexican cuisine.

Jeffrey M. Pilcher speculates the taco to be a product of 18th century Mexican miners; a description of tacos de minero, or miner’s tacos, first appeared in a reference book at the end of the 19th century.

As time progressed, growing industry brought a number of migrants to Mexico City, and with them came food from across the country. Regional differences in cooking styles gave way to what we know today as “Mexican food.” Tacos and tamales alike were sold from carts in the streets, and despite the vendors’ reputation as “lower-class” people were still intrigued by their new, spicy flavors.

The early 20th century saw an increase in civil rights and thus allowed Mexican food to rise in prominence. Meanwhile, its flavors were developing further in Mexico. New toppings and taco combinations were influenced by food brought in from other countries.

Glen Bell claimed to have invented the pre-shaped hard taco shell in the 50’s. He opened Taco Bells across the country, but his fast-food chain was targeted towards Americans otherwise unfamiliar with Mexican culture. Tacos changed and adapted as common ingredients were replaced with those more available in the US – lettuce, cheese, and hamburger meat.

It’s unclear whether the taco shell is an original invention of Bell’s or of authentic Mexican restaurants, as it is officially listed, but one thing is for sure – through decades of creativity and ingenuity the taco has become a well-loved aspect of diversity in American dining.

So, how do you like your tacos? Visit us for our Taco Tuesday special and let us know — at $2 a taco ($2.50 for shrimp and tilapia), you’re sure to find your favorite combinations.



Out With the Old, In With the New!

As the great Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”


We agree. Fast-paced, dynamic living has always been part of downtown charm, and Cleveland’s Playhouse Square district is no exception. Too long an absence from the downtown scene can leave you feeling as though you’ve returned to a different city.

On that note, if you’re a Puente Viejo regular, hopefully you haven’t been gone too long. You might’ve missed our switch from old to new!

(And if you’re not a regular, that should change – come visit us!) Yep, you heard us: we’ve got a new menu, but your old favorites still have a home in its pages. Our taco bar is still stocked, our fajitas are still sizzling, and our combinations still satisfy the most indecisive among us.

You’ll find new additions, updated descriptions, and these highlights in our new menu:

#33 Spicy Burrito – Red sauce on top makes for a firy twist on this classic burrito: a big flour tortilla, stuffed with grilled chicken or steak and veggies, and topped with chorizo. We recommend cooling things off with our Hamiltonita, which is a blood orange Coronarita.

Spinach Dip – We take two undeniably delicious ingredients (fresh spinach leaves and our house-made queso) and combine them in this new appetizer. It’s served with tortillas, but try it with the chips!

Baja Mex Salad – This one, a personal favorite of our owner, showcases the lighter side of Mexican cuisine. Romaine lettuce, black beans, corn, avocado, cheese, onion…we could go on, but what you really need to know is that it’s topped with a juicy, grilled chicken breast and spicy chipotle ranch.

What else is new on Puente Viejo’s menu? See for yourself.

Regular, repeat visitor, or first-timer, we’d love to have you dine with us – or just stop by for a drink and an appetizer.

And, hey, if anyone has Abe Froeman’s number, let him know we made a reservation for him. We’re the self-proclaimed Burrito Kings of Cleveland and have a #33 with his name all over it.

What the Heck is a Sangarita? | A Beginner’s Guide to Mexican Cocktails


Picture this: it’s your first date with the coworker you’ve crushed on for months. You’ve waited for this all week, anticipating the moment you’d sit down next to them, and the time has finally arrived.

You’re nervous, but, hey, it’s only Mexican food!

“I’ll have the Sangarita,” your date tells the bartender. Then the bartender turns their expectant eyes to you. And your mind goes blank.

What the heck is a Sangarita?

Wonder no more: we’ve got you covered.

A sangarita combines the best of two classic libations – the baby of red wine sangria and a traditional frozen margarita. Cold, refreshing, and perfect for a summer evening, this hybrid cocktail has notes of both tequila and fresh fruit. It’s garnished with wedges of lemon and lime for a zesty, citrus finish.

Brush up on your Sangarita trivia:

  • Sangria is common to Spanish-speaking countries like Portugal, Argentina, and Uruguay.
  • December 20th is National Sangria Day!
  • A frozen margarita contains all the components of a regular margarita, only pureed with ice – the first machine was produced in 1971.
  • The world’s most expensive margarita, mixed in 2013, checked in at $1200.

Looking to try one for yourself? Stop in to Puente Viejo today – our bartenders would be more than happy to mix up a Sangarita for you!