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Total Number of Taquerias Figure Revealed

You got a chance to guess. Now here's the shocking truth.

There are 263 taquerias in the Watsonville area.

That's according to Kurt Overmeyer, the city's economic development director.

He admits, "it may include taco trucks and definitely includes the bakeries and markets that serve hot food" and that it's not a perfectly scientific figure. A few of the establishments are on the outer edge (or just outside of) city limits.

Earlier the week, I asked readers to guess the total number.

The low-ball guess was 48, from both Rebecca Tait and "Watzon McWats" (who said he could name 25 from memory alone and recommended Mariscos El Nayarita II). Reader Ofelia got darn close with her estimate of 273 taquerias.

The overabundance of Mexican food, according to Overmeyer, discouraged at least one chain—Chipotle, known for healthy south-of-the-border fare—from coming into Watsonville.

While taquerias and Mexican restaurants in Watsonville serve some diverse dishes—such as regional items or seafood—some residents have been critical of the lack of variety in the city's restaurants.

Patch reader David Perez commented: "A taco is great from time to time, but not a steady diet of them. That's why so many of us go to restaurants in other areas for a little diversity."

Check out Patch blogger Michael Gaither's song "Now It's a Taqueria." The video's on the right.

And just for comparison, there are just three Japanese restaurants in Watsonville. Can you name them all?

David H. Perez November 16, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Miyuki, Imura and Sushi Garden.
Cathy P. November 16, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Yup!
Cathy P. November 16, 2012 at 03:23 PM
PLEASE ask Chipotle to reconsider!!!!
Jennifer Olds November 16, 2012 at 04:07 PM
It's pretty ridiculous that we have that many taquerias, and yet our only "nice" restaurant closed.
aptospirate November 16, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I'm sure they are all paying workmans comp and taxes to their employees plus being up on health regs.
Danny Williams November 16, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Lol wow! Its like we live in a little Mexico!
SB November 16, 2012 at 06:39 PM
So true - sad for GVG and those of us who dined there - guess I'll continue supporting Rogers, Props, Turkey Boat, Nacho Mama, Cadillac Cafe and the Wooden Nickel when I want non-taqueria. (sorry Cathy, not a fan of chain dining like Chipolte or Applebees) And my favorite taqueria dining is El Azteca across from Alladin Nursery.
Afraid in Watsonville November 16, 2012 at 08:54 PM
This is a Mexicano town. Better get used to it.
Afraid in Watsonville November 16, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Not required in Mexico.
Danny Williams November 16, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Mariscos Esperanza off East Lake has super good food and great service.
Martha P Quintana November 16, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Way too many taquerias and Chipotle would just be another one. We need a variety and some nicer restaurants in Watsonville. This is coming from a Mexican-American that likes variety. I don't agree that this is a "Mexicano town and get used to it". I feel that it should be an multi-cultural town and we should be able to get along and have a representation for all.
Watzon McWats November 17, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Well said. :-)
Pablo Villagran November 17, 2012 at 01:13 AM
wonderful, it shows the health of our community. That shows why we will keep a prosperous America.
Cathy P. November 17, 2012 at 07:21 PM
@Martha: Chipotle is not "another one," it's healthier. I agree about wanting variety and wanting nicer restaurants. As for having representation for all, Watsonville is very diverse but unfortunately diversity is not celebrated here.
Cathy P. November 17, 2012 at 07:23 PM
@Danny: love Esperanza's giant shrimp wrapped in bacon, can it get any better than that? (just ignore the bullet holes in the front window) ;)
Cathy P. November 17, 2012 at 07:29 PM
@SB: I'm not a fan of exclusively chain-restaurants either but if we want other businesses to come to town, we have to show that our population can sustain them. Many chain-stores (not just restaurants) won't take a chance here because they don't want to be the first one, so to speak. I'm still going to support Props, Nacho Mama's and Wooden Nickel, but we need larger businesses to take us seriously.
David Cole November 17, 2012 at 07:36 PM
If you look at the psychographic make up of Watsonville you would see that we are lucky to have a Target store. Until the quality of costumer increases in the area it's tacos for us.
Cathy P. November 17, 2012 at 07:42 PM
@David Cole: right on point! I never thought we'd EVER get a Starbuck's to come in to town but once we did get Target (for example) we now have 4 Starbuck's -not that we need that many- but we need to attract business to get business, and hopefully, eventually, more of the businesses we really want. Does that make sense? ;)
David H. Perez November 18, 2012 at 05:33 PM
@Martha - Thank goodness there is another Mexican-American in town besides me who likes variety. I usually get accused of being a racist for wanting variety. All I have ever asked is that EVERYBODY in this town have equal representation, but that pisses off the militant extremists.
Sergio November 18, 2012 at 07:00 PM
@ David H. Perez - Add me to the list of Mexican-Americans who like and want variety in this town. I go out for dinner with my family once per week and it’s always out of town. Also, on behalf of all true Mexican-Americans in this town, you are not racist. I find it comical when these self-described “oppressed Latinos” take things out of context and make it a race issue when it’s not. Please know that vast majority of true Mexican-Americans don’t see eye to eye with these extremists clowns.
David H. Perez November 19, 2012 at 12:44 AM
@Sergio - Thank you for your comments. Actually, you made my day. The overwhelming majority of Mexican-Americans in this town (and everywhere else) are great people, just like you and I. I find it interesting that the racist "oppressed Latino" trolls have not been commenting on the Patch lately. In any event, I hope to run into you sometime at either one of our great local taquerias, a nice seafood restaurant on the Santa Cruz Wharf, a nice vegetarian restaurant in Capitola, or a nice French restaurant in Aptos. I still need to try Syd's Barbecue in Aptos, and the new Mexican restaurant in town.
PatchReaderinWatsonville November 19, 2012 at 10:51 PM
I love me some good mexican food, but we've got a few pretty great, non-taqueria restaurants in town that we should make sure to keep around. I'm grateful to have those options locally, although they never seem to be as popular as some of the places listed above. There are two places in particular I would be sad to see go. They are delicious, but don't seem to get much dine-in business. Does everyone know about them? For Thai, Bangkok West is quite a place. It's tucked in the corner by Staples, next to GNC. Try their Spicy Rice, or any of the curries. I'm so happy I don't have to drive to Aptos or beyond for that. It's a welcoming place with friendly service. Last time we ate in, our server told us that dinner has been really slow... there's just no reason for that with food as good as theirs. My other hidden treasure is Tran Noodle, which serves up a pretty decent Pho. The Pho is inexpensive and warming, and there really aren't other options in the county for this vietnamese specialty. Service is super fast, too! Let's look out for these great places, so they don't end up going the way of the Green Valley Grill!
Oscer Rios III November 19, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Say what you want but 263 taco stands can't be wrong!

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