When 2020 began, Scott Reed loaded his plate with plenty of goals, hungry to achieve one in particular.
“I told my wife I was going to eat more tacos,” he said, reflecting on the simplistic goal that ultimately became part of a 50-plus plate tour of Kansas City, Kansas.
“Fortuitously, the KCK Taco Trail came around in October … so, I decided to make it a reality,” Reed, a Lawrence resident and attorney for the Kansas Department of Revenue, said of the Visit Kansas City Kansas initiative, launched in celebration of the city’s rich Hispanic heritage and robust community of locally owned taquerias.
Click here to find out more about participating in the KCK Taco Trail.
Reed recently completed the entirety of the Taco Trail — one of only a few adventurous eaters to do so — just four months into its year-long run, securing a spot on the Visit KCK-backed effort’s wall of fame and other incentives.
Diners have until Oct. 31 to complete the trail and win prizes.
Unlock prizes by eating tacos and checking in at KCK restaurants:
- Check into five restaurants to receive a KCK Taco Trail decal
- Check into 15 restaurants to receive a jar of Tradición flavor from Spicin Foods
- Check into 30 restaurants to receive a KCK Taco Trail t-shirt
- Check into ALL restaurants to receive a KCK Taco Trail Championship Flag and to have your name included on the Taco Trail Wall of Fame
“The flag is coming in the mail,” Reed said, anticipating the arrival of one of the challenge’s top awards.
“I’m the kind of guy that when you give me a reward to chase after, I can set my sights on it, I’m heading for it. That was sort of the persistent joke among my friends. I was like, ‘I don’t care how many places I’ve got to go, I don’t care how much I’m spending on tacos, I’m getting that flag.’”
Such a story of eager participation and active tourism is exactly what Visit KCK hoped it could achieve with the initiative, the organization said, noting the Taco Trail has produced more than 5,200 restaurant check-ins and awarded 234 prizes in its first four months.
Restaurants listed on the trail are located in small neighborhoods and immigrant-owned with primarily Spanish-speaking employees, noted Maila Yang, marketing and communications manager for the Kansas City Kansas Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“Kansas City, Kansas, is a melting pot of cultures and this can be found through our art, historical sites, and most noticeably our food scene,” Yang said, noting the city has been known for its authentic street tacos for decades.
“The taco trail helps stimulate tourism dollars into our local, mom-and-pop shops, brings people to explore our small unique neighborhoods, and helps to tell the cultural story of Kansas City, Kansas.”
All in good fun, the thrill of completing the trail gave Reed something even better than accolades, scoring the taco enthusiast a slew of new restaurant recommendations and favorite dishes, he added.
“There’s a lot of places I thought were really solid. I’ve gone back to Gigi’s Barbacoa Cafe a couple of times,” he said, noting the effort allowed him to return to his Wyandotte County roots, having grown up in the Bonner Springs area, and encouraged support for small businesses amid critical economic times.
“It was nice to get out and go places, but it was mostly a quick in and out because of pandemic concerns,” Reed said, referencing the detailed journal he kept while traveling the trail.
“I do have a lot of empathy for The Mockingbird Lounge. They’ve got a great spot there that overlooks KCMO, just across the interstate. It’s the exact type of place I would want to hangout — but because of COVID concerns [couldn’t.]”
Reed hopes to visit (and enjoy) the spot again when family and friends can safely gather, he said.
In light of the trail’s success, Visit KCK plans to introduce an additional trail later this year, designed to showcase the city’s history and stories of the people who settled there, the organization said.
While Reed’s participation in future challenges remains unknown, his appetite has shown no sign of slowing down.
“I just had tacos yesterday,” he said enthusiastically. “I don’t have a defined goal of eating more tacos right now, but I’m definitely going to be getting some more here and there.”