A First Impression of Wichita's Fuzzy's Taco Shop
Last summer during a trip to Dallas, my wife and I stumbled upon a place called Fuzzy's Taco Shop. Never being ones to pass up the chance to try new Mexican food, we decided to give it a shot. We ended up liking it so much that we ate there three times during our brief stay in The Big D. So you can imagine both my surprise when I found out a Fuzzy's was opening in our own backyard and my delight when we were privileged to attend their soft opening on Saturday, March 12th.
Opened in Dallas' twin city Fort Worth in 2002, Fuzzy's has acquired a bit of a cult following over the years, expanding to over 100 locations ranging from Nevada to Virginia, thanks to a fun, funky atmosphere and, above all else, delicious food and drinks.
First things first: Fuzzy Dust—Learn it. Live it. Love it.
What is Fuzzy Dust? It's the ubiquitous house seasoning that finds its way into everything from the meats to the potatoes to the tortilla chips. And while you could buy everything to make their own taco-style seasoning at your local grocery store (or, if you’re a good Wichitan and supporting local business, The Spice Merchant), as it's almost certainly a combination of salt, smoked paprika, chili powder, etc., in the heat of the moment I'll be darned if I didn't consider buying a bottle of the stuff. Same goes for their "Butt-burning'" hot sauce—the original, not the habanero. Both were good, but the original tickled my taste buds a little more.
On to the food.
My party sampled as much as we could, and it was mostly all delicious. The tortilla chips were good—not necessarily the best, but the liberal seasoning of Fuzzy Dust elevates them a notch above most. The salsa, something I'm a bit of a snob about, was outstanding. Smoky thanks to its fire-roasted ingredients, and with just the right amount of kick, together with the chips it makes for an addicting combination.
The queso, which we'd had in Dallas, was as good as I remembered. I'm not usually a fan of queso at most Mexican places, but Fuzzy's is hands down my favorite. It's not gritty or grainy, it doesn't skim over if it sits for more than a minute untouched, and it doesn't taste like generic Velveeta and Rotel. Next, we tried the "Bottle Caps", breaded and fried jalapeño slices served with their house avocado ranch. They were fried perfectly, my only quibble was that they're breaded in a seasoned cornmeal mixture—I tend to prefer either flour breading or a tempura or beer batter style, so your enjoyment may vary.
One of Fuzzy's helpful and friendly employees, Kristin (coincidentally from Dallas) sang the praises of the beef brisket, which she enthusiastically told us was coated in Fuzzy Dust and cooked long and slow in salsa verde until it's melt-in-your-mouth tender. She had me convinced, so I tried a brisket taco along with my go-to from Dallas, grilled shrimp. The brisket lived up to the hype, full of flavor and reminding me of some of the better homemade shredded beef I've had. The shrimp was as good as I remembered, liberally seasoned and cooked perfectly. I sometimes hesitate to order shrimp in Wichita because it's either overcooked and rubbery or tastes a bit fishy, but luckily this was not the case here.
My wife is a vegetarian and tried a combo plate with a veggie taco and enchilada, with Fuzzy Dust-seasoned potatoes and cilantro lime rice on the side. (*Note to vegetarians: the black beans, cilantro-lime rice, and potatoes are the only vegetarian sides) She said the rice was better than Chipotle's, and the potatoes were good. The veggies in her food were well seasoned, well-cooked and fresh, as opposed to the soggy heated-from-frozen stir-fry vegetables we found inside a veggie enchilada at a much-beloved Wichita staple which shall remain nameless.
I had a mango margarita, which I had loved in Dallas, and it didn't let me down; I'm sure all the margaritas are delicious if the mango is any indication. Worth noting is that not only does Fuzzy's have a full bar, they are also open until midnight on weeknights and 2 am on Friday and Saturday, allowing them to compete with places like Bricktown Brewery and Old Chicago as one of Wichita's few late-night eateries.
With all that good stuff, what could there be to complain about? The fajita chicken salad was good but certainly nothing to write home about. Like the other meats, the fajita chicken was very tender, flavorful, and perfectly cooked. The main complaint? There wasn't enough of it. With the number of low carbs and keto diners on the rise, the salad should be more hearty than lettuce and tomato with a protein on top. The ketoer in our party was clearly less satisfied than the rest at the table, and had nothing else on the menu to choose from.
Although there were no desserts available for order, employees came around every so often to offer people small, bite-size samples of both original and oreo churros. Both were still warm when we got them and had a nice texture, but there was a glaring omission: they were naked. The oreo churro tasted okay because it had the cream filling but it hadn't been rolled in sugar, and the original one was missing both sugar and cinnamon. Someone slipped up letting those get out of the kitchen missing their key ingredients. I doubt anyone else who had those samples would be clamoring for more.
The entire staff was friendly and helpful, answering questions and clearing tables whenever needed. There were slight traffic jams around the pickup counter, which is to be expected at a soft opening when a place is working out the kinks, but nothing major.
All told there were just minor hiccups in a mostly great dining experience. Fuzzy's Taco Shop should make a lot of Wichita's Mexican places—from drive-thrus, to fast casual, to regular sit down restaurants—very nervous.
Fuzzy's Taco Shop is located at 306 N. Rock Rd, just south of Central. They're open 7am-12am Sunday-Thursday, 7am-2am Friday-Saturday.