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Readers' Choice Mexican Restaurant Winner: Pure Tacos

The Boardwalk restaurant wins our weekly readers' poll.

With 853 total votes in our poll this week, it's clear that Ocean City is pretty passionate about its Mexican food. But perhaps a few fiercely loyal patrons are a bit too zealous?

We had a bit of a "Taco-gate" scandal with our ballot box this week — with dueling allegations of stuffing more than just burritos.

Patch allows readers to vote only once in the Readers' Choice polls and programs them to prevent multiple votes, but no online poll is foolproof. Some dramatic spikes in the vote tally may have come from individuals trying to work around the system. But the bumps may also have been a result of the restaurants promoting the poll on their Facebook pages (which is certainly OK).

Regardless, we ask our readers to remain true to the spirit of Patch commenter "Steve":

"I would like to go once to each restaurant and sample some of their best food in one sitting (for a reasonable fee ), so I could make an informed decision."

Or to the attitude of Patch commenter Steve Grady:

"I was having a really bad day today and just about fell off my chair reading this thread ... Thanks to all of you for making me laugh."

Ocean City is fortunate to have four excellent Mexican restaurants (and, yes, your humble editor, a well-practiced eater, has sampled them all) — none part of a tex-mex chain and each unique in its own way. 

Read the user recommendations in the comments section below, and sample the restaurants:

With that said, the winner of this week's poll in a close race is . The seasonal Boardwalk restaurant topped the poll with 377 votes. was close behind with 321 votes. (86 votes) and (69 votes) rounded out the poll.

Pure Tacos is on the Boardwalk near 11th Street (and plans to open a second location in Philadelphia in April). The restaurant is scheduled to open for the season in May.

Patch commenters gave Pure Tacos kudos for its gluten-free options and an authentic menu that includes things like orange-glazed fish tacos, barbecued pulled-pork tacos with corn salsa, and bacon-and-chicken ranch nachos.

"We here at Pure Tacos are excited and honored to accept this award," Marketing Manager Josiah Andrews said. "We've done our best to offer the best in fresh and delicious flavors, while keeping true to our gluten-free and allergen-friendly roots. So whether you're just down for the weekend or here for life, we're proud to serve you. It just goes to show you — everyone loves a good taco. We're coming back to you soon, Ocean City! Check us out on Twitter and Facebook to find out when."

Ruth McAdams March 26, 2012 at 06:22 PM
I have Celiac Disease and it is rare to find a restaurant that is completely gluten free...and serving delicious food...and all of this on the boardwalk!!!
Jason March 26, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Red's Jersey Mex is the best! My family an I try to make the drive down from Chester County Pa once a month then we're there everyday when we're on vacation. We love it. Go to their FB page, photos. That's me at the rifle range with their shirt on.
NJ dreamin' March 26, 2012 at 06:38 PM
My husband's favorite is Pure Tacos because like Ruth above, he has celiac disease and appreciates the confidence in their food. However, we've often frequently eaten in Red's Jersey Mex (although we weren't aware of name change), and the kitchen has been able to provide him with delicious, gluten-free meals that have caused him no problems. Haven't tried Cinco de Mayo, although family members have eaten there and report that it offers authentic and flavorful food as well. I think we all just like Mexican cooking :-)
Anastasia March 26, 2012 at 06:58 PM
I've been going to the shore my whole life and I haven't even heard of any of these places other than Pure Tacos. It totally sold me with it's samples when it opened. I eat there at least twice a week when I'm down. I also heard via facebook they are opening a location in Philly. Hopefully it's open year round.
Al Czervik March 26, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Gotta be Red's on 11th St. Love it
laura wilson March 26, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Red's Jersey Mex.... Absolutely. Not only is it the best fresh food, made with lots-o-luv; you can't beat the service and staff. Red's is a man of many talents and it shows! Okay, now I'm starving for some Jersey Mex..... too bad I'm in Michigan. :-)
Bob March 27, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Looks like people need to venture off the boardwalk! 11th and Haven, people!
Mr. B March 27, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Reds Jersey Mex by far the best. Can't wait til they are back open 7 days a week, I can go for some Jalepeno wings or some taco's right about now.
Kirk March 27, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Reds Jersey Mex absolutely kicks butt! Tremendous pork that is soo tender it is making me salivate just thinking about it. @Bob, from looking at the numbers and how fast they are increasing for pure, I have a feeling that this non-scientific pole is being manipulated by someone clearing cookies. (Perhaps someone thinks that they can keep voting themselves into a win in this pole! Hopefully this won't be the case.)
Kirk March 27, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Yeah, this pole is a crock! The vote for pure went up by 10 while I typed the post above.
Kirk March 27, 2012 at 12:28 AM
You must not have been going to OC your whole life, because pure hasn't been around but for a couple of breaths. At least in OC.
Susan Kaye March 27, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Pure Taco is my #1 choice! It's all fresh and delicious, even for those of us without Gluten issues. As for the voting, perhaps there are others like me who are just now having "quality time" with our computers after a hard day of work, making dinner, ironing, etc, etc, and only now have a chance to vote.
Brigid Touey March 27, 2012 at 01:04 AM
It's a shame that some Red's Jersey Mex fan has to ruin this good-hearted poll. They were at 102 votes less than twenty minutes ago and are now at 196.
Kirk March 27, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Hey Brigid, Maybe the local vote is coming to the surface... I notice that the only two posts that you have ever made on Patch are both on this page. :-)
Dave Allison March 27, 2012 at 01:16 AM
how are the red's fans "ruining" this? b/c pure isn't in the lead anymore? seems like all the pure fans are out-of-towners. like kirk said below, looks like the local vote is starting to show. & personally, i prefer rojo's.
Colleen Schroeder March 27, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Kirk, I was not going to write anything because I wanted to stay above it all. But, I can't sit silent when you are totally contradicting yourself. It's funny that you are the first one to accuse of padding the vote yet when someone else suggests your favorite of perhaps doing the same (an 80 point jump in 45 minutes is awful suspicious) you say it's the local vote. Funny, because in perusing facebook pages, I notice on your favorite's page the admission from a Mr. Orlando "Unlimited votes (so far!) from my IPhone !!!!" Wow. There must be a ton of locals rallying here. Or -- they found a loop hole. Sad that this won't be an honest poll. And I'm sad for all 4 of the owners. Colleen -- a local (but I only have two other posts on here so I must not really care about Ocean City.)
Meghan March 27, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Pure Tacos is yummy! Great now I want chicken nachos.
Kirk March 27, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Thanks Coleen for your vote of confidence. Sorry though it wasn't me that caused the jump. I did post on Facebook, and Lord knows I could quite easily have written a script to pad the vote, actually I could have written a script that would have knocked the website over with votes, but that isn't the way I roll. I did find it interesting that the pure vote was going up at such a rate and posted on that. In fact my wife, daughter and I didn't even know pure was there, we are not big on eating on the boardwalk, but we are big on supporting the businesses that stay open all year with great food. Perhaps Pure has great food, I don't know yet. I probably would have visited them by now if they were open all year, but I will definitely give them a shot this summer. But my heart and taste-buds and wallet will be with the local-guys that are here all year.
Bev March 27, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Red's Jersey Mex is the best. My husband and I eat there many times each summer (and in the winter because they're open year-round). My family has eaten there since they first opened (maybe 8-10 years ago???) and we have never had a bad meal. The staff is great too!!!
Anastasia March 27, 2012 at 02:24 PM
@Kirk -- contrary to your assumption, I have been visiting Ocean City for nearly my entire life with my family every summer. I am not a 'local' but became of huge fan of Pure Tacos when they opened because it is not only delicious, but also because members of my family have food allergies.(I also don't frequently venture off of the boardwalk for meals). I noticed this article on facebook and came here to support them. I'm not sure where the hostility is coming from (as I see you've been commenting on other people's posts as well) but please rest assured I am a loyal OC'er. Any place that can safely feed my family and has fresh and tasty food is the best I could ask for. PURE TACOS all the way!
Kelli March 27, 2012 at 03:45 PM
I have to cast my vote for Pure Taco's because my children obsess over the bacon and chicken ranch nachos.
Colleen Schroeder March 27, 2012 at 04:34 PM
@Kirk, I really wasn't trying to accuse you of doing anything but wanted to defend Pure Tacos when the same thing is clearly happening on both sides. I have been to 3 or the 4 restaurants and will continue to support all as all are local owners (and try the 4th). I am very close to the owners of Pure Tacos who I know right now are super busy trying to open their Philly location and really don't have time to focus on winning this particular poll -- they are feverishly trying to build out the place so they can open their doors as soon as possible. What you need to know is the owners are locals. Their kids go to our schools. They are good people as I'm sure the other business owners are as well. I know they would love to stay open all year but the business on the Boardwalk doesn't justify staying open past September. In the future, think before you accuse. You don't want to hurt anyone's reputation.
Rachel Maser March 27, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Pure Tacos is awesome! We love that they have delivery. After a day at the beach not having to cook and getting it delivered Rocks! Can,t wait till we are back for the month of July.
Eleanor March 27, 2012 at 05:32 PM
It is a shame about polls like this. You can basically vote as many times as you want and 'stuff the ballot box' which can give the impression that something not so great is #1. I have only had food from Rojos on 6th st and thought their tacos were some of the best ever including the ones i had when i was in Southern CA. I have not been to Pure Tacos but have friends who just rave about it and said the food was delicious.
Jerry Grady March 27, 2012 at 08:21 PM
I was having a really bad day today and just about fell off my chair reading this thread. I thought it was a political thread or BYOB thread at first. Thanks to all of you for making me laugh about how bad it is and wrong to vote the way people are. It's just a non-scientific poll. I think I will write a quick macro to vote 1,000 times. LOL
steve March 27, 2012 at 11:50 PM
I would like to go once to each restaurant and sample some of their best food in one sitting (for a reasonable fee )so I could make a informed decision.
Taylor March 28, 2012 at 07:16 PM
I've had a lot of tacos and Pure Taco's BBQ pulled pork taco with corn salsa might be the best I've ever had; so they get my vote.
Neil Kaye March 28, 2012 at 09:47 PM
At least we can all agree that OCNJ has the best beach. Please for our City at: http://www.njtoptenbeaches.org
Bill Tremer March 28, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Reds Jersey Mex is awesome and near where I work. Rojos is awesome and near where I live.So I love them both, but I had to vote Rojos because I have more fond memories there from my highschool days. I never tried Pure, and I never even heard of Cinco De Mayo (until this article) so I can't comment on them.
Nancy August 17, 2012 at 01:58 PM
I like the one on 6th street, Rojo's. I have tried all of them and they are all good, but I love Rojo's.

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