Whether he’s reimagining classic Philadelphia sandwiches at Paesano’s Philly Style or crafting crazy good menus at Modo Mio, chef Peter McAndrews has a knack for understanding local palates. Italian-accented cooking might be McAndrews’ wheelhouse, but his latest venture goes south of the border for a take on Mexican with plenty of personal touches.
On a triangular lot at the corner of Frankford and Marlborough, Heffe Tacos, a walk-up window with the tagline “tacos that don’t suck,” is putting out an affordable menu (read: nothing over $9) of tacos, burritos and a few sides. But don’t expect the usual selection of Puebla-style offerings that most Philly Mexican spots serve.
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The menu ranges from the traditional — ground beef, lettuce and jack cheese Plain Jane tacos, or a take on al pastor with pork, pineapple and queso fresco — to internationally inspired fare like the Bellicimo burrito filled with lamb belly, chimichurri, paprika chickpeas and a fried egg. The Mac Daddy tacos have McAndrews’ style written all over them, with sticky braised beef cheeks finished with queso fresco and plum mostarda.
Heffe is keepinglimited lunch and dinner hours (11 a.m.-7 p.m.) during the week, but it’s open until
3 a.m.on the weekends. The menu has plenty of plates geared toward the post-last-call crowd (hello, Tijuana Poutine with waffle fries, chili, pickled jalapeños, American cheese and an over easy egg) as well as hangover helpers/preventers like the classic Mexican morning-after soup, Menudo. Wash it down with a glass-bottled Coke or something from the bright selection of Jarritos sodas, in flavors like tamarind and guava.
Having opened their doors just a little over two weeks ago, this converted gas station has already won plenty of fans with a robust lunch crowd and serious late-night push, welcoming bar-goers and construction workers alike with an affordable menu and quick, friendly service.
Moving forward, Heffe plans on keeping things warm and cozy. Heaters are being set up in the outdoor dining area. And a partnership with Bottle Bar East is in the works for a weekly taco and beer pop-up garden.