Philadelphia, PA

El Taco Soon To Serve Homemade Mexican-Inspired Fare at University of Pennsylvania's Retail District

Marilyn Johnson

El Taco, a locally owned and operated Mexican restaurant serving the University City community since 2018, will open a new location in late 2021 at 3716 Spruce Street, which is part of SHOP PENN, University City's retail district. El Taco was founded by husband and wife duo Edna and Alvaro Luna, along with friend Brett Weinheimer and features delicious made-from-scratch Mexican-inspired fare.

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Mexican Food coming soon to the SHOP PENN DistrictCourtesy: El Taco

The idea for El Taco came from nights where the three sat around Luna’s dining table enjoying Edna’s cooking. Al Luna and Weinheimer are both graduates of the Wharton School and long dreamed of starting a community-based business in West Philadelphia, steps away from a campus where the seeds of entrepreneurship were first sewn. The restaurant showcases these shared ideals. El Taco is committed to bringing meaningful, team-based employment to their Philadelphia crews. They also show appreciation for their neighbors with specials for first responders and university residential advisors, as well as fundraisers for local groups.

“The entire El Taco team couldn’t be more excited about the reality of bringing Edna’s amazing Mexican-inspired fare to the heart of Penn’s campus, on the same block as Al and I walked as Penn freshmen 25 years ago,” Brett commented as they countdown to the opening. Al and Edna added enthusiastically, “We are looking forward to welcoming the Penn and West Philadelphia communities to our table very soon!”

Edna Luna serves as head chef, responsible for all the recipes on the menu, taking many of her cooking lessons from her mother who owned a restaurant in Guatemala for years. Since opening its first location in the Powelton Village neighborhood three years ago, El Taco has served Mexican-inspired dishes including crispy tacos, quesadillas, and burrito bowls. They are well known for their homemade guacamole and salsas, with varieties ranging from creamy chipotle to smoky guajillo or the spicy El Scorpion. They have been recognized by both Door Dash and Uber Eats as ‘Most Loved’ and ‘Top Eats’ Restaurants respectively.

“Penn strives to bring a unique mix of dining options to the campus and surrounding neighborhood,” said Ed Datz, Penn’s Executive Director of Real Estate. “El Taco is a popular locally owned staple here in University City, and we are excited that they have picked a location in the Shop Penn district for their next venture.”

Learn more about the story of El Taco at www.eltacoandburritos.com and the Mexican food that these partners in business and friendship are serving up for the locals. Plan to try them for their Taco Tuesdays or to take the El Macho Burrito challenge, and then come back often for the friendly atmosphere and the memorable dishes that make every day a little more inspired.

Marilyn Johnson is a freelance food and travel writer covering the food and drink scene of Philadelphia, South Jersey, and beyond. Food news: phillygrub@gmail.com. Travel tips: phillygrubtrips@gmail.com.

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Marilyn Johnson is a Philadelphia area-based food and travel writer focusing on food & drink in the Mid-Atlantic region. Email phillygrub@gmail.com for Philly area news; phillygrubtrips@gmail.com for travel tips and opportunities.

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