KEEPIN’ IT REAL in THE COV: Olla Low Rider Cruze-In

First photo: Dancing at last year's Olla Low Rider Cruze-In. Photo by Sam Greenhill; Second photo: Sergio Gutierrez receives the City's Authenti-CITY award from Covington Business Retention & Expansion Specialist Patrick Duffy. 

Cool cars, vibrant music … and life-changing tacos

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth of five articles naming the winners of the 2024 Authenti-CITY awards given by the City of Covington at a ceremony last Friday to mark the National Economic Development Week. More about the awards can be found at the bottom of this article.)

COVINGTON, Ky. – Admit it: Reading this headline sent the central riff to War’s “Lowrider” thrumming in your head … and with that earworm blend of alto saxophone and harmonica, you’re feeling a whole new kind of cool.

In your mind, you’re behind the wheel of a sleek 1984 Cadillac Coupe de Ville, leaning into sophisticated luxury. Or powering down the road in a 1960 Ford Galaxie. A classic.

You know who brings this kind of cool to town? Olla Taqueria Gutierrez.

Sure, it’s said that Olla’s Birria Ramen can change your life … and their Guti Fries and Nachos will leave you speechless … but Olla’s Annual Tacos Vatos and Low Riders Cruze-In event in September (in celebration of Mexican Independence Day) will make you cool. It’s got great food, good music, and low and slow cars that have been an integral part of American car culture since the 1950s.

(And those cars will be “hoods up” so you can marvel at their mighty innards.)

“I am often asked where is the best place to eat some authentic Mexican food on a Tuesday,” said Covington Business Retention & Expansion Specialist Patrick Duffy. “The answer is easy. It’s Olla’s three-for-$7, mix-and-match tacos. What about Wednesday? Easy. Birria tacos, three for $10. But say I’m asked what are you doing September 16? Well, the biggest event in town is likely the Annual Tacos Vatos and Low Riders Cruze-In. What’s better than highly modified classic cars, great music, and tacos?”


Olla is the second family-owned business in Covington for the Gutierrez family. Sergio Gutierrez is a second-generation Mexican-American. His father, Claudio Gutierrez, opened Gutierrez Deli at the corner of 12th and Lee streets in 2012, while Sergio opened Olla Taqueria, at 1131 Lee St., in 2021.

Duffy said Sergio told him he’s worked mighty hard on perfecting his birria recipe.

“I’ve seen him work equally as hard on welcoming the community, working with business owners, and of course the Low Rider event,” said Duffy. “For this reason, we want to give Sergio and Olla the Authenti-CITY award for Olla and their event.”


About the awards: The first-annual Authenti-CITY awards were unveiled by Covington’s fun and irreverent Economic Development team in 2021 to celebrate National Economic Development Week in an off-the-wall way.

There were no rules and no criteria – just staffers getting together after hours (maybe over a few drinks, maybe not) and debating fiercely about what businesses, places, events, people and organizations most “kept it real” in The Cov. The fervor had to do with this: Narrowing down the massive list (because, you know, Covington is such a cool place).


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