Tocabe tackles tradition transcendentally

Photo Credit: Korina Rojo

Photo Credit: Korina Rojo


It would seem unlikely that in this day and age a restaurant that focuses on environmental sustainability and ethical consumption could exist, but there are some that do. It may even be perceived as far fetched that these restaurants could serve customers in the style of popular burrito fast food joints while still focusing on the aforementioned traits.

It would certainly be impossible that a restaurant could do all of these things and still follow the tradition of American Indian cultures; yet, Tocabe, located of 44th and Federal, achieves all of these all at once. The result is a culinary experience that at one time reminds customers of familiar fast-food experiences while at the same time allowing them to see how this experience can still function while following a philosophy of responsibility.

When the doors of Tocabe are first pulled open, the aroma of sweet corn and grilled chicken fill the air. If someone was to be blindfolded, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for hem to think they had entered a burrito chain restaurant. But, there is something distinctly different about the ambiance of this place.

The interior is noticeably clean. The walls are painted with earthy tones and tables are well cared for. The walk from the door to the counter reveals the delectable spread of food that customers can choose from. Familiar aspects of American cuisine arise: sweet corn, salsa, grilled chicken, and rice all make appearances. However, some strangers to the American palate stand out, including bison, wheat berries, tepary beans, and blue corn. All of these ingredients, it should be noted, are grown locally and responsibly. A page on the Tocabe website ( is dedicated to showing customers exactly where they buy these products from. These sources range from the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe to Red Bird Farms.

Photo Credit: Korina Rojo

While it is normal to feel uneasy to try and expand the reaches of the palate, the unusual ingredients at Tocabe make the stop all the more worth it. Begin with the Indian Taco with grilled chicken ($8.65). From there, add some osage hominy which has hominy, cranberry, red onion, and cilantro. Don’t be afraid to toss in some familiar favorites as well such as sweet corn, mild tomato, lettuce, and roasted green chilies. This combination promises a truly wonderful culinary experience for a relatively competitive price.

After the main course, look into some dessert options. The most unique is unquestionably the Wojapi Topped Fry Bread ($4.50). This dish’s base is the same as the Indian taco, except instead of being graced with the usual taco toppings, this dish is topped off with the Northern Plains inspired combination of berries reduced to jam, coupled with cinnamon and powdered sugar. is dessert does not disappoint.

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