Mi Taco’s Matador Salad


Photo courtesy of Darin Kuna of the Growing Up in Upland Facebook page

The Matador Salad was a simple taco salad sold at Mi Taco, an Upland fast-food stand at 7th and Mountain that operated from 1966 to 2006. After the restaurant closed and readers began lamenting the loss of the Matador Salad, the original owners provided me with the recipe, which had appeared in the Daily Report years earlier. (The building was remodeled and in 2008 became Connal’s.)

The salad was served in a foam cup and consisted of shredded lettuce, seasoned ground beef, sliced olives, shredded cheese, a slice of tomato on top and a mayo-salsa dressing. It was adorned with a taco shell, broken in half lengthwise and stuck in the salad so that the shells looked like the horns of a bull. Hence the Matador Salad name.

I wrote about the salad and said anyone who wanted a copy could email me. More than 200 people have done so, many recounting stories about their love of the restaurant. I wrote about that, too.

Despite the intervening five years, people still email now and then requesting the recipe, and I always comply. For the sake of posterity, though, I’m now taking the step of simply posting the recipe here on my blog, where anyone can find it.

I have yet to hear from anyone who’s made the salad, by the way.


Makes 4 Servings

2 heads of lettuce, shredded
1/2 pound of taco meat, browned & seasoned to taste
1 small jar of salsa (your choice)
1/4 pouund of mild Cheddar cheese, shredded
2 large tomatoes, sliced
1 can black olives
1 bag plain tortilla chips
Mayonnaise sauce (see below)

Layer salad in large bowl in the following order: lettuce, mayonnaise sauce, meat, salsa, cheese, tomatoes & olives.

Place tortilla chips around edge of salad & serve.



8 ounces mayonnaise
3 ounces whole milk

Whip together.

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  • Oh my gosh! I forgot about that salad. I couldn’t tell you how many of those I ate. I/We used to go there for lunch almost daily when I worked at 9th St Warehouse in Upland (remember that place?).

  • Ted Melendez

    wow didn’t even know that place existed. Guess I might try it, (Connals)

    [It’s quality fast food. May I recommend the milkshakes? — DA]

  • Marian Masterson

    Hi David,

    Thank you for posting the recipe for Madador Salad…again. I made it tonight & we loved it! I prepared half the recipe & I have to tell you it was still a HUGE salad & there was three of eating it. I will be making this again (maybe cutting back a little more on the quantity). Great dinner!!

    [Finally, someone made the salad…or at least, someone made the salad and shared that they’d done so. Thank you! — DA]

  • shirley wofford

    When my son was at home he drove through and got the salad often–otherwise I would never have been aware of it. People thought that dressing was some secret recipe. OMG, look at those ingredients in the secret sauce! I don’t think that will fit into my Weight Watchers regimen–even with the 49 extra points.

    Are we sure that this is the real thing? I know we can’t get the recipes for Kentucky Fried Chicken and Olive Garden’s Pasta Fagioli soup. Could you work on getting on the inside somewhere, for those two, David? I would have to remove the skin from the chicken first.

    [All I know is the recipe was printed in the Daily Report as having come from the owner. The Times has that Culinary SOS feature in which restaurants provide recipes for requested items. I don’t think KFC is going to cough up its “11 herbs and spices” anytime soon. — DA]

  • April

    I have missed Mi Taco for a long time. Still trying to find a decent New York Pizza. Have tried San Biagio in Upland but they don’t even come close. I guess there just isn’t anyplace outside of New York to get a decent pizza. Have tried Graziano’s in Upland which just changed hands, Fratellas and I wound up with green Canadian Bacon on my pizza even after 1 day in the fridge, been to BJ’s at Ontario Mills and Bostons. Tried New York Pizza in Chino and Giovanni’s in Ontario. Sick of Pizza Hut, Dalia’s, Papa John’s, etc. There is a new place opening up on Central Ave., in Montclair that has taken over the old Papa John’s place. When it opens I am going to try there. Any other suggestions about Pizza.

    [You seem to have hit most of our highlights, and even most of our lowlights. If you don’t think San Biagio’s even comes close to what you’re looking for, then I’m not sure where to direct you. You may have to explore L.A., with Village Pizzeria a good bet, or Brownstone Pizza in Eagle Rock. — DA]

  • Carol

    My husband and I found your article because Mi Taco was a special
    place for us. We were very sad when we saw that it had closed and
    always wondered what happened. We had heard the owner passed away.

    We still crave that bean and cheese burrito with the taco sauce packets.
    We cannot remember the name of the sauce? We miss the flavor of the
    sauce with the burritos and salty fries. We haven’t found a place that
    matches Mi Taco.

    Do you know the name of the sauce? It’s been a great debate in my

    • Karen Stuart