Tio's Tacos – Riverside, California - Atlas Obscura

Tio's Tacos

Mexican food and folk art. 


This taqueria is located in the heart of historic Downtown Riverside. The food is that of your average Southern Californian fast-casual Mexican eatery; however, the incredible collection of folk art allows patrons to experience something completely unique to Tio’s.

Martin Sanchez, the owner and artist, has been expanding and maintaining the property for a decade. The courtyard features old appliances re-purposed as decorations, bicycles cemented straight into the ground, and fountains constructed from scrap metal and glass. The perimeters are adorned with spectacular statues fabricated from chicken wire and stuffed with bottle caps, children’s dolls, utensils, and just about everything else you can think of.

A path toward the back of the property leads you to a collection of small buildings. Among them is a chapel constructed of concrete and glass bottles, complete with a hand-painted mural on the domed ceiling. Next to the chapel stands a teepee-shaped structure with water continuously flowing down its side, creating a beautiful maze of streams flowing through carvings on the floor. Tio’s is a great place to stop by for a quick meal and a fascinating look at the product of one artist and a lot of trash.

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