There’s no denying Arizona’s strong affinity for tacos. It’s impossible to travel through any city, no matter how large or small in the copper state without stumbling upon at least one taco joint. Despite the surplus of tacos, it can be a challenge to find something that’s different. However, for anyone who lives or is traveling to the Lake Powell area, there’s a new taco offering that is not only unique, but the flavors pre-date most of the tacos circulating the state.
Slackers has been operating, in some capacity, since 1979, when the Page, Arizona restaurant opened its doors. While it went by a different name, before changing to The Sandwich Place and then eventually Slackers, the restaurant has remained continually operational for nearly 45 years. While it does have an established history, new owners are bringing several updated offerings that not only haven’t been available at Slackers in the past but at most taco restaurants around the state.
As first reported by Krista Allen of Navajo Times, Christopher Chief and Cedric Tadytin took over the restaurant at the end of March, and since then, have brought with them Navajo tacos as well as Navajo burgers. Navajo tacos are different from the more widely known Mexican or Tex-Mex tacos. Instead of using a corn or flour tortilla, a Navajo taco utilizes Indian Fry Bread. This is a flat dough bread that is deep-fried in a form of fat (this can range from lard to oil or shortening). The exact recipe will vary, as some will contain small amounts of sugar to give a sweeter taste to it, while other fry breads will skip the sweetness and instead focus on salt and even fats (such as more lard, which is also a common ingredient in tortillas).
Navajo fry bread has a troubled history. When the Navajo were forced to relocate 300 miles by walking across several states, the United States government provided very little in the way of food. Some of the few ingredients given included flour, lard, salt, and sugar. With these ingredients, the Navajo created fry bread.
There are not many restaurants in Arizona that produce Navajo tacos for several reasons, one of which is due to the painful connection it has with the treatment of the Navajo people. However, Christoper Chief and Cedric Tadytin of the Navajo Nation are proud to offer Navajo tacos from their recently acquired restaurant.
For anyone interested in sampling the tacos (as well as other food from the extensive menu), the restaurant is located at 635 Elm Street in Page and is open 10:30 AM until 8 PM Monday through Thursday, and 10:30 AM until 9 PM Friday and Saturday. It is closed on Sunday.