Maria’s Taqueria is one of the best places to eat in Shepherdstown. On the day that I decided to do this review, I also decided to introduce a friend and his family to this restaurant that I love so much. I went and picked up my homebrew compadre Wes and we headed down to Shepherdstown to pick up lunch.
When you first see the outside of Maria’s you may just pass it by as some hole in the wall but if you do, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. The exterior of Maria’s is an old gray townhouse that looks large enough for a single person to store their stuff in. The building is tiny and unassuming, but houses one of my favorite restaurants in the area. How favorite? It was a Saturday tradition to stop by and pick up a three taco meal on the way to the pool and it wouldn’t be unheard of for me to stop there two to three times a week.
Once you walk inside you’re greeted by a brightly painted interior adorned with Southwestern decorations, two chalk boards for menus and specials, and a wall of hot sauce. The chalkboard over the counter houses the standard menu outlining their food choices, types of fillings and toppers for their tacos, burritos, salads, etc…, and their sides.
At first glance it may look like they have a limited menu, but they’ll make you pretty much anything you come up with as long as they have the ingredients for it, in fact, they encourage it. The second chalkboard is on the left when you walk in; it’s the customer special board. If you come up with a special, you write it on the board along with the others and people can order your special or create their own. Each time a customer orders your special, it gets a mark. At the end of the month all these marks are added and the winner goes on the wall along with receiving a free burrito. Just one suggestion if you try and create your own, keep it family friendly or Maria will erase it. How do I know? Experience.
We ended up ordering two Maria Janes and two three taco meals. This was for three adults and two children. The total ended up being $30 and change, but I left a tip as well. The people taking orders and fixing food have a tip jar and I feel they totally deserve it. Maria’s can get insanely busy since the food is inexpensive and service is fast. I’ve walked into the tiny building before with five or six orders waiting in front of me and they’ve been cleared out with speed and efficiency. I’ll even cite that as a reason it’s one of my favorite places to go, they’ll take your order and get you out the door unlike some other restaurants that seem to like to keep a person waiting.
Maria’s is more of a carry out place since it only has several stools against a bar on the wall, a table inside, and a table outside, with the inside seating being right by where the orders are taken. After we got our food me and mi amigo headed back to his place in Martinsburg to eat.
The three taco meal is one of the items on the menu I regularly get. I either have it with shredded chicken or pork sometime of hot sauce. One of my more regularly used sauces is a mixture of sour cream and Sriracha. It comes with your choice of pico or salsa and I’d have to recommend the pico as it’s made fresh daily like the pork and like the pork it is delicious. You can get your choice of hard or soft shell tacos as well; I’ve always gone with soft.
There’s a reason it’s called a three taco meal and not a three taco appetizer. The portion, like other choices on their menu, is huge. I’ve heard some complain of the soft taco shells being a bit soggy, but I don’t find this much of an issue if you don’t wait around to eat it. The fresh ingredients lend a very crisp and savory taste to the tacos and just straight umami your face off. If you’re completely unsure of what to order, the three taco meal is always a good go to.
Now, on to the massive Maria Jane. It’s very large burrito filled with rice, black beans, your choice of filling, sour cream, lettuce, cheese, and probably something else I’m not remember at this moment. It’s then topped off with queso sauce and pico. This is a burrito made for a knife and a fork, or someone that just wants to throw down and say, “I’m man enough to gobble you down with bare hands!” It’s messy, but so good. Again, as with the tacos, the fresh ingredients just blend well together and create a masterpiece of a burrito. Chipotle, you can eat your heart out!
Unfortunately, Maria wasn’t at the shop that day or I’d probably have some other information to share about when she got started and how the idea came about for her place. Other than that being the only let down, I got to introduce some friends of mine to one of my favorite places to eat and got to enjoy and Maria Jane. If you’re ever in Shepherdstown and need a good quick bite to eat, stop by Maria’s for lunch or dinner and you won’t be disappointed.