Vinyl Taco has been bidding welcome to passers by on South Columbia Road for the past few years. Many have come accustomed to the friendly choices for tacos available in a bright ambiance.

For me, a stop by on Labor Day was a pleasant enlightening. I was with my daughter Gail Hagerty (GH) of Bismarck. She has been familiar with a similar Vinyl Taco on visits to Fargo.

So we passed by the window seating in the bar area and chose a small booth among those surrounding the bar. The booths are small and pleasant for a two-some. The small tables along the windows at the front of the bar give a view lookout on the passing scene.

My choice was a Gringo Taco. It was crisp and tasty with a fresh appeal. So, too, was the vegetarian taco that GH chose.

Our waiter told us the most popular menu item s the Crispy Chicken Mango taco. And also the cilantro lime chicken version.

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Chips, made in the house, we agreed are really good. Crisp and light. And we enjoyed the queso for dipping. Some customers eat two or three. And I am sure on a good, clear day I could do the same.

The menu at Vinyl Taco is in the form of a big black record in a slightly flexible material. It lists appetizers, soup and salads, chimichangas, smothered burrito supreme combinations, enchiladas, and specialty bowls. Eating out in September is inviting with the plethora of special events scheduled around Grand Forks and the area.

There is reason to dawdle at Vinyl Taco over Mexican fried ice cream and cheesecake chimichanga. I would settle for the ice cream drizzled with chili-infused honey. Some may choose the ice cream and cheesecake chimichanga rolled in cinnamon sugar, drizzled with chili-infused honey.

House of Punjab

We ate and talked of eating. That led to another stop at the House of Punjab which opened this summer among the restaurants in the south end of the city.

Although the House of Punjab has been sought out by area diners, the restaurant is having a hard time finding enough help. There was one waiter deftly working almost all the booths when we stopped by.

The restaurant features food of northwestern India. It has a blend of spices and ingredients that make foods most famous in India. We enjoyed the Aloo Gobi which includes fresh cauliflower and potatoes.

The restaurant features breads available in all flavors baked in its tandoor oven.

Reach Marilyn Hagerty at mhagerty@gra.midco.net or by telephone at 701-772-1055.

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Vinyl Taco

1970 S. Columbia Road

Suite 101

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday with midnight closing Friday, Saturday. Closed Sunday

Owner-manager: Darin Hager

Seating for 99 in two areas to accommodate those under 21 who wish to be seated away from bar service or to make take out orders

Report card: A bright, pleasant place that bids welcome on South Columbia Road. Vinyl Taco has a string of menu items including a popular crispy chicken mango taco. Also popular is the cilantro lime chicken taco.