Tucked inside a Chevron gas station on Kirkwood Road is one of the best-kept secrets in Stafford.
Charlie’s Tacos is a local favorite for breakfast and lunch tacos, and I soon learned I wasn’t the only one who had trouble finding the place, which is close to where Stafford meets neighboring Meadows Place. As I waited for my food, I heard an employee offering directions over the phone to Charlie’s, saying it was most easily accessed by heading east on Sugar Grove Boulevard, as I had found out for myself moments earlier.
The simplest way to explain to someone like me — who hasn’t had good experiences with gas station food — to buy tacos from a tiny kitchen in the corner of one is simple. They’re really good. But Charlie’s also benefits from keeping things quick and easy. You can only choose from three sizes (small, medium and large) and four tacos on the lunch menu, and I tried three of them.
I browsed longingly at the breakfast taco menu (featuring standards like potato-and-egg and chorizo-and-egg tacos) on a television monitor on the left, when the worker behind the counter appropriately and tactfully nudged me to look at the lunch menu on the opposite side, which is how I found out they do not serve breakfast tacos all day at Charlie’s.
The pricing system is also very easy to follow. All small breakfast tacos are $1.69, the medium tacos are $1.89, and larges are $3.29. On the lunch side, a small is $1.89, mediums are $3.49, and larges are $5.49.
I’m no Joey Chestnut, but I can work up an appetite with the best of them. Even on an empty stomach, I found the Barbacoa Taco, Chicken Fajita Taco and Carne Guisada Taco (all served on flour tortillas) to be more than enough food to hold me over for lunch.
The barbacoa was tender and smoky, and the chicken fajitas and carne guisada were juicy and flavorful.
For $6.99, you can also try a lunch plate with rice, beans, salad and tortillas with your choice of the same four meat options you have for the lunch tacos: beef fajitas, barbacoa, chicken fajitas and carne guisada.
If you’re an early bird and craving a Special Breakfast Burrito, a small is $3.49 and a large is $4.89. In reading online reviews from customers on Yelp and elsewhere, when the workers at Charlie’s say the breakfast burrito comes with “everything” they apparently really do mean it. The entirety of the options available on the breakfast taco menu — potatoes, eggs, chorizo, ham, beans, bacon, sausage, and pico de gallo are all bundled together in such a way that has me wanting to set my alarm extra early just to start my day with one of these bad boys.
Address:12404 S Kirkwood Rd., Stafford
Dining Options: Takeout, delivery
Hours: 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday
Entrée prices: $1.69-$6.99
Senior discount: No
Healthy options: None
Star of the show: Barbacoa Taco