Cilantro Tacos, a family-owned restaurant tucked away on the west side of Gainesville, Florida, reminds its customers that there’s nothing like eating fresh, home-cooked meals made with love and delicacy. Located in the Tioga Town Center, Cilantro Tacos brings a taste of California and authentic Mexican food to the Gainesville food community.
Last week I got the chance to speak with Nathan Meth, co-owner of Cilantro Tacos. Nathan and his sister, Nataly, have been serving recipes straight from their family’s cookbook since October of 2013.
Growing up in Baja, California, The Meth siblings were heavily influenced by the Mexican culture and lifestyle that surrounded them growing up. Their childhood love for Mexican candy and Coca-Cola grew into something much larger- a desire to spread the beauty and taste of Mexican food. It led to the establishment of their family-owned taqueria and brought them straight to Florida, sharing the Mexican culture they fell in love with across the country.
“We moved a lot growing up but I’m blessed to say that I see myself rooting in Gainesville.”
Nathan and his family have found their home in Gainesville, and plan to serve the community the same comforting, home-style food he knew growing up.
“Throughout all my struggles in life, I knew I could always come home to a home-cooked meal. Food is life.”
Now, Cilantro Tacos is able to provide that same happiness and comfort to others. They offer a wide range of everyone’s favorite Mexican cuisine: tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more. Whether you sit down for a meal at their restaurant or pick up a quick bite at one of their food trucks, Cilantro Tacos is sure to satisfy your cravings and leave you with a full stomach.
With dishes on the menu created by their mother, meals brought out straight from the kitchen by their aunt, and smiles from the employees who are treated like their own, the two siblings, Nathan and Nataly, bring a new meaning to “family-owned.” They run the daily operations at Cilantro Tacos and do so with just as much care as they would in the kitchen of their own home.
Cilantro Tacos’ focuses on serving the best quality dishes using only the freshest ingredients and recipes perfected throughout several generations. You’re sure to have a taco, burrito, or bowl bursting with flavors when eating here. Nathan tells his staff,
“if you won’t eat it, don’t serve it.”
He ensures to not only meet expectations, but to exceed them. And after my first visit to Cilantro Tacos, I learned very quickly that there is much more to Mexican food than Taco Bell and Chipotle.
The Gainesville community, like a larger family, has always remained an integral part of Cilantro Tacos’ success. This meaningful support from the community became especially relevant during COVID-19. When I spoke to Nathan about how COVID-19 affected their restaurant, it was clear that Cilantro Tacos truly cares about their customers and employees. It was a challenge that they, along with the rest of the world, were unprepared for. However, they made an effort to keep all their employees on board, keep their customers fed, and keep the restaurant running.
They knew that if there was a problem, they had to adapt and find a solution to overcome it. Whether this meant focusing on contact-free orders through online ordering platforms like Byppo or operating under new hours in a new COVID-friendly world, Cilantro Tacos was able to “stick it out together.” Working alongside Byppo has allowed them to overcome obstacles while supporting another local business. Through this collaboration, Cilantro Tacos customers can now order delicious tacos safely and quickly.
There aren’t many places in Gainesville where you can find such genuine people and authentic Mexican food. Next time, instead of driving through Taco Bell for your fix of Mexican food, support a local family-owned business and stop by Cilantro Tacos for a taste of authentic tacos and burritos that will leave you wanting more before you even step out the door.