In 1938, Gene and Natha Waddle opened Waddles Drive-In Coffee Shop in the Jantzen Beach community of North Portland. Dedicated to serving tasty home-style meals at reasonable prices in a family-friendly atmosphere, Waddles soon became a popular stop for both locals and travelers.
Always creative and adventuresome cooks, the Waddles had a special passion for the flavors of Mexico and thought it would be fun to bring their favorite south-of-the-border recipes to the local community. So in 1960, with the help of son Russ and his wife, Marilyn, the Waddles family opened The Original Taco House on Northeast 82nd Avenue, the first year-round Mexican restaurant in Portland.
Most locals had never experienced the taste of hand-made tamales, chili rellenos, burritos, enchiladas, tostadas or even tacos. These new and exciting flavors were a hit, and along with the Waddles’ style of friendly, attentive service, soon established The Original Taco House as a Portland dining institution.
Today, Waddles Drive-In is a fond memory. But The Original Taco House continues, thanks to grandsons Nate and Jeff who maintain the Waddles family dedication to quality food and family-friendly service at both the 82nd Avenue Taco House location and a second restaurant on SE Powell Blvd. and 35th.
As the popularity of The Original Taco House name has grown, a central kitchen (Annex Foods) was added to allow expansion into catering and deli sales, while keeping all the menu offerings consistent and high quality. Every day, restaurant recipes and sauces are prepared here using foods from the Pacific Northwest when possible, and always high quality ingredients for delicious, authentic taste.
The unique flavors of Taco House refried pinto beans, seasoned meats, Mexican rice and famous salad dressing (often copied but never duplicated!) are examples of the dedication to “quality, forever” that has become a third generation tradition