Backyard Tacos is heaven wrapped in a warm tortilla

Steak tacos from Backyard Taco. —Marnely Murray

Tacos, to me, are the perfect food. A warm tortilla stuffed with spiced meat or vegetables and topped with guacamole, pickled onions, or sour cream, and I’m a happy food writer. So you can imagine my happiness overflowed last year when Zared and Evan Shai told me about their latest project: a taco shop right in Edgartown. The Shai brothers aren’t strangers to town — they also own the juice shop Smooth Moves. Zared has been part of the Edgartown life for years now, while making L.A. home during the winters. Evan has worked his way around some of the Island’s best restaurants. Now they’ve combined their passion for good tacos to open their second shop: Backyard Tacos.

Located on 33 Winter Street (where the Edgartown Humphrey’s used to be), the space has been transformed into a casual taco shop that’s serving up hundreds of tacos a day. And it’s only their first week!

The shop has outdoor seating, with a handful of tables and twinkling lights. It’s right smack in the heart of Edgartown, yet it distant enough to offer a chill and relaxing environment.

But the brothers truly won my heart with the housemade tortillas they are serving. No one else on Island is making tacos served on hand-pressed tortillas. A warm, pliable tortilla makes a taco enjoyable, and I’m glad they’ve decided to take the time and effort to make them themselves. Plus, the options aren’t just limited to corn tortillas — they’re working on some sweet potato dough, as well as a bright red beet dough that is sure to be out of this world.

The menu is simple and to the point. Why overcomplicate things? The tacos offered are: steak ($5 each), fish ($4.50 each), eggplant ($4 each), chicken ($4 each), and ground beef ($4 each). They come served with fresh chopped cilantro, a drizzle of sour cream crema, and a sprinkling of cheese, and then you can choose to add sides like guacamole ($4), cabbage slaw ($2), pico de gallo ($2), or salsa verde ($2). Additions to the menu include a mango jalapeno salsa made by their sous-chef Josh, who takes his Jamaican culinary background and creates this spicy sweet sauce that pairs exceptionally well with tacos. My current favorite is the eggplant taco — thinly sliced eggplant marinated or spiced in some secret magic that Evan wouldn’t share with me, even after I even pinky-promised I wouldn’t tell. So now I am consuming an incredible amount of eggplant tacos and trying to decipher the ingredients on my own. My close second favorite is the chicken taco, where chicken thighs are marinated in a cilantro mojo sauce that shines on a tortilla.

The best part of this taco shop is they’ve secured a liquor license, so you can sip on a freshly made margarita ($9) or a cold beer while you eat your tacos. Next time you’re in Edgartown, make it a point to grab lunch, dinner, or a late-night snack at Backyard Tacos. They are still working on the schedule, but are currently open from 2 pm until 12 midnight daily.