Taco take-over in the land of Polka: Cedar's most famous roadside attraction
Michael and Nicole McHugh were a farming family. A decade ago they committed their efforts to growing fresh healthy food on their Cedar Sol Hydro Farm in Leelanau County. But it's what they starting doing across the street that's really drawing in the crowds.
At the top of the hill, as you drive into Cedar, Michigan, sits a perhaps an unexpected and certainly unplanned for success story.
As Michael explains it, “we started with a small idea. It was just sort of fresh food, July 4 during the Polka Fest about 7 years ago."
Little could Michael or his family know then but that simple offering of tacos to a handful of passerby polka dancers would change so much in their lives.
Michael says "the taco stand is an extension of how we live. We put speakers outside and offered tacos and told people to come on out and that's pretty much what's been going on since."
"And come on out, they have. Every summer season the traffic to the roadside taco stand gets a little heavier. What was once a little secret to its loyal local customers has turned into rapidly growing hot spot destination for all. Michael says "the word does get out there, but we are still kind of tucked away, so you really have to want to be here."
And that's the way Michael likes it. People kind of have to go out of their way to end up here, but based on the lines of car and customers, people certainly do. Every day the roadside taco stand is open the "regulars" show up, and in between, tourists and new customers just discovering the hidden gem.
The truth of the matter is that these days you can get tacos just about anywhere. So what's made the Cedar Taco Stand so popular? Michael says "We try to make it fresh, make it pretty simple. Our ingredients are relatively minimal but extremely fresh." They are extremely fresh as in the lettuce, cilantro, tomatoes and peppers come from their farm fields right across the street.
That's important to the McHughs. They want to serve healthy food in a healthy environment. It makes them happy to see folks sit overlooking their farm and the land they are stewards to, smile, and share a meal they've prepared. Michael says "it’s really rewarding. Like, I sometimes have a hard time talking about it because we put so much of ourselves into our product. Everything we do is really coming from the heart."
Just how much as the popularity of the taco stand changed the McHugh's life? Michael says they once thought of themselves as farmers with a taco stand. Now it's flip flopped. He says now they run a taco stand with a farm nearby.
To learn more about the stand, the hours they are open, and to check out their menu click here.