Jan 26, 2024 - Food and Drink

Music City loves Mexican food

Number of Mexican restaurants per 10k residents
Data: SafeGraph; Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Map: Axios Visuals

Davidson County has the most Mexican restaurants in Tennessee, but they have become increasingly popular pretty much everywhere.

Driving the news: About 99% of Americans live near at least one Mexican restaurant, a Pew Research Center analysis of data from SafeGraph has found.

Why it matters: The proliferation of Mexican restaurants — once staples only of the Southwest and parts of the Midwest — highlights the growing influence of Mexican Americans on U.S. culture and the effects of increased migration from Mexico over the last 30 years, Axios' Russell Contreras reports.

By the numbers: There were 281 Mexican restaurants in Davidson County as of March 2023, per the analysis. That's a higher total than in any other county and amounts to four for every 10,000 Nashvillians.

  • Sevier County had the highest rate of Mexican restaurants per capita, with more than four restaurants for every 10,000 residents.

Of note: Tex-Mex restaurants counted as Mexican restaurants in the study, as did eateries, food trucks and restaurants serving multiple types of cuisine along with Mexican food.

  • The analysis found that 22% of Mexican restaurants nationwide are fast-food restaurants, 12% serve tacos as their specialty, 8% are categorized as food trucks or carts, and 6% dish up Tex-Mex food.

The latest: New additions continue to arrive at a rapid clip.

  • Pie Town Tacos opened an East Nashville location in Five Points earlier this month.
  • Tio Fun! brought "Mexican munchies" to North Nashville in December.
  • Last fall, Mercado brought tacos and oysters to Wedgewood Houston.
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