The Real Deal at Taqueria La Macro

Taqueria offers al pastor-style meat cooked on a classic trompo.

 See more photos from inside Taqueria La Macro in our trompo-filled slideshow.

"Oh boy," I nearly squealed with excitement the first time I pulled up to Taqueria La Macro with my boyfriend. "This place looks like it's run by folks from Monterrey." In my head danced visions of tacos de trompo and soft asadero cheese-stuffed piratas and gringas, all specialties of the sprawling Mexican metropolis in Nuevo León. Perhaps, I thought wistfully, they'd even have a real trompo.

"How can you tell they're from Monterrey?" my boyfriend asked, snapping me out of my reverie.

Trompo-style meat was brought to Mexico by Middle Eastern immigrants.
Troy Fields
Trompo-style meat was brought to Mexico by Middle Eastern immigrants.

Location Info


Taqueria La Macro

1822 N. Main St., Ste B
Houston, TX 77009

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Heights


620 Sheldon
Channelview, TX 77530

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Outside Houston

Tacos Del Julio

3331 Telephone Drive, Ste. C
Houston, TX 77023

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: East End

Tacos Del Julio

8203 Long Point
Houston, TX 77055

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Outer Loop - NW

Tacos Del Julio

5887 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77057

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Galleria


Taqueria La Macro
1822 N. Main, Suite B, 713-226-8226. Hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
Breakfast taco $1.90
Taco de trompo $1.75
La Gringa $2.75
La Campechana $3
La Pirata $3
Trompi-burger $5.95
Taquizas $6.85

SLIDESHOW: Real Deal Trompo at Taqueria La Macro
BLOG POST: In Photos: Trompos de Mexico

"Easy," I said. "Look at the windows." A giant strip of neon had been curved into the shape of Monterrey's famous Cerro de la Silla mountain. Inside, you could see the telltale bright-blue soccer kit of the Tigres de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (colloquially known as just the Tigres) pinned to one wall, surrounded by the cheerful orange kits of our own Dynamo squad.

And sure enough, sitting right there in the open kitchen surrounded by sanitation-maintaining Plexiglas walls was a trompo. Strips of ruddy, achiote-colored pork shaped like a child's toy top (for which it's named) are pressed onto a vertical spit and rotate slowly, cooking the meat gently as it trundles along its rotation. On top, a whole pineapple with its spiny skin removed drips down onto the pork while it cooks, keeping the meat moist and flavoring it with the sweet juice.

The vertical spit looks like the same mechanism that holds gyro meat, which is no coincidence — both trompo and al pastor-style meat cooked in this fashion were brought to Mexico by Middle Eastern immigrants to the country in the 1920s. In a nod to their roots, tacos containing this spit-cooked meat eventually came to be known as tacos árabe. The immigrants came mostly from Syria, Lebanon and Turkey, bringing with them a cooking style that was co-opted in Mexico to use pork instead of the immigrants' preferred beef or lamb — an interesting wrinkle in both religious and cooking history considering the Islamic roots of many Middle Eastern émigrés to Mexico.

While you can find al pastor-style meat across Houston, it's rarely cooked the "old" way like this. Classic trompo, which is the Nuevo León version of pork al pastor served on corn tortillas, is tough to find in Houston. Most people trek out to places like Karanchos in Channelview for their fix, where the trompos are robust and heaped high with tender pork while they cook outdoors. Even at other Nuevo León places like Tacos del Julio, the trompo is kept in a refrigerator and sliced off to order, then warmed and charred on a griddle before being slipped into tacos.

I was dazzled to see a real trompo sitting before me in the restaurant and asked La Macro's genial manager, Saul Obregon, about it. Obregon seemed as excited as I was to talk about it, introducing me to an elderly gentleman whose sole job in the restaurant seemed to be tending the trompo.

"Pasquale worked the trompos for 40 years in Mexico," Obregon explained while Pasquale smiled bashfully and tipped his hat in a charming, old-fashioned gesture before shaking my hand. He quickly returned to his work, while Obregon introduced the rest of his kitchen crew with an equal amount of pride. They all had the same shy smile as Pasquale and returned quickly to their tasks after their brief introductions.

And this, aside from the trompo, is what I love about Taqueria La Macro: How seriously the people here take their food, and how pleased they are when you're pleased by it.

I've eaten at Taqueria La Macro four times since it opened along a torn-up portion of North Main a few months ago, seemingly in hopes of capitalizing on the Metro rail line that will eventually run a few short feet away from its front door. In that time, I've had some of the most cheerful and industrious service to be found in Houston. I often bemoan the fact that seriously good service is one of the things holding our city back from competing on the national stage — we have the talent in the kitchen, after all, and the funds to back them — and many restaurants could learn a thing or two from La Macro.

If anything is running a bit behind in the kitchen, the waitstaff is quick to apologize and keep you abreast of what's going on. The moment trash hits your table — whether it's a discarded sugar packet or a straw wrapper — it's scooped up by a server. Drinks are kept constantly refilled and plates are delivered with a genuine smile. And Obregon is always there to keep a watchful eye on his little restaurant, greeting customers by name and often sitting down to chat.

The customers come in all possible stripes, from businessmen in suits who wander over from nearby downtown to Metro construction workers assembling the line outside. On the weekends, it's mostly families from the predominantly Hispanic neighborhood and young yuppie couples who are competing with them in the ongoing gentrification of the area. La Macro accommodates them all, with free Wi-Fi and large, flat-screen TVs that are almost always showing a soccer match of some sort. And in keeping with Monterrey's reputation as Mexico's most modern city, La Macro's dining room is equally modern and clean, with granite countertops ringing the kitchen and a beautiful wooden bar occupying one small corner.

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MadMac topcommenter

Finally, I'm able to comment, (I really, REALLY hate this sign in bit'ness) on the wonderful, Taqueria La Macro. My Mrs. and I hit the place last Friday. Ms. Shilcutt is on the nose with the courteous service and good value. We loved the trompo tacos and can't wait to go back. We ordered both the tacos del bario and trompo taquizas. While all tasted great, my Mrs. and I agreed next time, no messing around, we're going straight for the the trompo taquizas. Great review and a fantastic restaurant.


Amazing article...... Thank you K. S. for being our public eyes and voice in this new endeavor of mine..... 


S. Obregon


there are very few taco joints down here in BsAs. there is only one place that this Texan will even consider -- Fabrica del Taco and their tacos are trompo style. AMAAAAAAZING. :)

Katy Manning
Katy Manning

Went and had this for dinner last night. So good, so cheap and the owner chatted with us too. Definitely recommend this place!


I love Trompo.  Tacos la Bala on Bellaire @ Renwick is also delicious for those on the SW side.


@EatingOurWords how is this possible inside CoH boundary? Can we please have real gyros now too?


@EatingOurWords So has the CoH health dept relaxed its rules on cooking with trompos? If so, good news for Houston trompo lovers!


@EatingOurWords gah! Now I have to clean up all the drooling on my keyboard.

kshilcutt moderator editor

 @NattyLite Are you reading this from Buenos Aires? If so - how awesome! Hello from Houston.


@houston_foodie According to @LaMacro, CoH hasn't relaxed the rules but they confound the inspectors ("I gotta site you for something...")


@houston_foodie Plexiglass sneeze guard.