Top Taco Festival Makes Its Way to the Big Easy

Creative tacos and tequila concoctions will be the inaugural festival’s focus

Denver may have done it first, but New Orleans will do Top Taco better.

Taco Tuesday will not be the most revered day of the week when Top Taco festival graces New Orleans with its presence on Thursday, Mar. 23. The inaugural festival, which follows in the footsteps of the highly successful Top Taco Denver, features a taco and tequila culinary competition with entries from more than 40 top chefs and mixologists from around the city. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Riverwalk’s Spanish Plaza overlooking the Mississippi. A portion of the event’s proceeds will benefit One Heart NOLA, a charitable organization that raises funds and awareness for New Orleans’ foster children.

The inspiration for a Top Taco New Orleans edition developed after local restaurateur Shane Finkelstein attended the Denver original. Finkelstein, who is the proprietor the New Orleans restaurant Nacho Mama’s, was impressed by the remarkable talent featured at the festival and knew it would be a good fit and a welcome addition to the New Orleans festival scene.  After all, Top Taco quickly became the number one summer food festival in Denver after launching in 2013.   

Confirmed restaurants for the event include Jacques Imo’s, Rum House, Velvet Cactus, Cowbell, Blue Oak BBQ, Mizado, La Casita, Felipe’s, Tacos and Beer, Johnny Sanchez, Patois, Superior Grill, and several other notable establishments. Restaurants will be paired with various tequilas and spirits including, but certainly not limited to, Don Julio, Patrón, Ghost Tequila, Cointreau, and Sauza Hornitos to craft inventive cocktails for the occasion. The restaurants will compete in four categories: Top Creative Taco, Top Traditional Taco, Top Creative Cocktail, and Top Margarita.

Live entertainment will be provided by the NOLA-famous Latin ensemble Los Poboycitos and Afro-Cuban jazz and groove band Otra.


Tickets to Top Taco New Orleans are now on sale. VIP discounted tickets are $125 per person and include early entry and a private VIP lounge aboard the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen, where guests can sip libations from a full open bar, partake in exclusive tequila tastings, taste unique dishes, and enjoy private musical performances. First Tasting tickets are $85 and include early entry, and general admission passes are $65 per person. View the festival website to purchase tickets and for more information including the full list of participating vendors.