Jose Garces can pretty much do no wrong. From his roles as executive chef at both Alma de Cuba and El Vez in the Starr Restaurant empire, to his initial Spanish specialty restaurants of Amada, Tinto and Mercat a la Planxa (in Chicago). From branching out to the Peruvian/Cantonese fusion cuisine of Chifa to his Mexico City-inspired Distrito in University City. From his whiskey bar venture of Village Whiskey to his BYO/wine store hybrid of Graces Trading Company. From his elevation to Iron Chef America to, most recently, his domestic-centric JG Domestic. The public (specifically, Philadelphia) flocks to and eats up just about anything in which he’s involved.
So it should be no surprise that Guapos Tacos, his latest venture in what is already a hot trend of food trucks, would debut for the public at13th and Chancellor last night to much anticipation and demand. Guapos had previously done industry-only events and private servings for Garces Restaurant Group employees. Announced only one night before its inaugrual public appearance, Guapos had over 30 people were eagerly waiting in line by the time it starting serving at 10:30 p.m.
It’s not your typical taco truck. The first thing that stands out is the striking appearance of the exterior, decorated with beer bottle caps (Blue Moon was among the beer caps). The menu also features some Garces touches. Sure, there’s offerings such as Carnitas, but this version has smoky black beans, pineapple-habanero salsa. Short rib, featured prominently in so many of his restaurants, is an option as well.
One of my orders was the Desayuno tacos, a mixture of scrambled eggs, chorizo, poblano rajas and salsa Mexicana. It may have been close to 11 p.m. when I got it, but eating a breakfast-style taco hit the spot. Everything, from the soft, bend-but-don’t-break tortilla to the ingredients, meshed well and provided a very tasty late night snack. Sure, the prices were somewhat high (2 tacos for $6.50, while others were even higher), but the quality of the food is first-rate. I doubt the other hungry patrons minded paying the additional premium either.
The regular schedule for Guapos Tacos hasn’t been determined yet. When it is, I highly recommend lining up for some delicious tacos.