Words & Deeds

Naughty new taco joint opens in Canyon County. Bite your tongue — er, lengua.

Local street tacos are part of the culinary fiber of Canyon County, thanks to flavorful destinations such as Tacos Lupita in north Nampa and Tacos Colima in downtown Caldwell.

That’s what makes the newest player in the area so, well, Naughty.

Naughty Chile Taqueria, a Denver, Colorado-based chain with 46 locations nationwide, recently opened its first Idaho outlet. You’ll find it inside Sunnyslope Market, a Sinclair gas station at 14987 Sunnyslope Road in Caldwell.

Founded in 2014, Naughty Chile’s quick-service concept focuses on making things easy for franchisees.

“The food is just super solid,” founder Shultz Hartgrove said by telephone. “We kind of take the pain of the labor out.”

Naughty Chile doesn’t specialize in a certain Mexican cuisine. Instead, it draws influences from regional styles, he said, including Tex-Mex and Southwestern. Items on the menu include tacos, nachos, quesadillas, and build-your-own burritos and bowls — all served fast.

Sunnyslope Market in Caldwell. Idaho Statesman file

“We have barbecue brisket that has a little bit of machaca Mexican flair to it,” Hartgrove said. “... We do old-school green chile and queso, pork, shredded chicken — kind of a New Mexican thing. And we have chef-driven sauces.”

For the record, Naughty Chile isn’t the only Mexican fast-food chain in Caldwell. So if the idea offends you, bite your tongue, foodies. (Better yet, bite your lengua. At a taco truck.) There’s already a Taco Bell. Plus, residents have had the opportunity to plow into so-called “stoner burritos” since May. That’s when at Del Taco opened at 606 N. 21st Avenue.

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Michael Deeds is an entertainment reporter and columnist at the Idaho Statesman, where he also has been a sportswriter, entertainment editor and features editor. Deeds co-hosts “The Other Studio,” a one-hour music show, at 8 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.