Kingston’s Taco Truck Wants to Make #TacoTuesday a Permanent Thing
At Armadillo in Kingston, tacos come from a vintage camper parked in the prettiest little patio in Ulster County.
Photos by Lillian Dumont
Taco Tuesday is a wondrous thing. Unlike other food holidays, which occur but once a year, Taco Tuesday goes down every.single.week. That means, depending on the year, there are 52 potential occasions to chow down on the highly addictive handheld eats.
Or maybe a few more.
While weekly Taco Tuesdays are a bright spot during the workweek, Armadillo in Kingston wants to shine the spotlight on the street food fare when hungry Hudson Valleyites crave it most: the weekend. That’s why the 2018 Best of Hudson Valley winner is going big – well, kind of – with its new taco camper.
Parked in Armadillo’s patio area, the camper is an early 1970s Nomad that the restaurant tracked down from a local seller in Kingston. After gutting the interior and jazzing it up with new siding, windows, and plumbing, plus three bay sinks, a steam table, and a tortilla press inside, Armadillo opened the camper in May. Designed as an extension of the restaurant proper, the retro rig is open on the weekends for diners who crave a casual, outdoor atmosphere and a more affordable price point.
On the menu, tacos take center stage, with fillings like beef barbacoa, chicken tinga, and vegetarian refried beans and rice. The foldables are $4/apiece, while their burrito counterparts run $9 or $10 each. A select lineup of drinks is available as well, with outdoor-appropriate sips like margaritas on the rocks and Modelo Especial.
“It’s great for people who want to grab a quick bite to eat without the restaurant experience,” notes Lillian Dumont, Armadillo’s general manager. “People love it.”
Left to right: A loaded burrito / Diners place their orders at the camper window.
One look at the setup and it’s easy to see why. The camper sits in an Instagram paradise, surrounded by picnic tables, twinkle lights, and community games. On Fridays to Sundays, families and friends can stop by for lunch or dinner and catch up over chicken tinga tacos and a cornhole game or two. As Dumont explains, the camper makes use of the same quality ingredients featured within Armadillo, just without the sit-down experience.
For anyone who does want to dine inside, however, Armadillo delivers with a more extensive menu and a recently refurbished interior. In March, the restaurant closed down for a week to make renovations to the windows and spruce up the space with fabrics and accessories that Dumont and her fiancé Luciano Valdivia, the restaurant’s co-owner and director of operations at Barbaro in Millbrook, purchased in Oaxaca. To keep it local, they found finishing touches like vintage lamps and Mexican blankets at nearby treasure trove Zaborski’s Emporium.
As with all food truck operations, the camper’s life in the Hudson Valley is seasonal. It will remain open as long as weather permits, then close for the winter period before reopening in spring.
“People like to be outside, especially in fall,” Dumont says. “We’ll keep [the camper] open as long as there’s no snow on the ground.”
Fingers crossed, there will be quite a few weekends to head to Kingston before those first snowflakes fall. Ready to get your taco on?
97 Abeel St, Kingston
Camper open Fri-Sat 1-10 p.m., Sun 12-9 p.m.