South Street has tacos and Philly tacos and even a Philly taco beer
Always on the look out for the best tacos in town (Tacos on trial around Philadelphia) it turns out I had missed out on one of the most infamous South Street traditions and probably one of the most unusual “taco” styles.
The Philly Taco experience includes a traditional Jim’s cheesesteak wrapped inside a giant slice of Lorenzo & Sons pizza, made for large appetites and unusual palettes.
“I think people are surprised at how good it tastes. It is unusual but is really good,” said Ken Silver, president of Jim’s Steaks. “The cheesesteak is about a 1000 calories. I imaging there are an extra 1000 calories on the pizza slice so you are looking around 2000 calories. Your daily consumption of calories you can have it right here.”
Silver described this inventive pairing as something extremely local and particular to South Street. “We opened in 1976 and I started working here that same year. I can remember Philly tacos when I was a teenager, is something that has been around for a really long time.”
“I wish I knew who to credit with the first Philly taco. The only thing I can think of is that we allow for people to bring pizza into our restaurant because everybody doesn’t like a cheesesteak for whatever reason,” Silver said. “And so we would allow a family with kids to bring pizza in, while the rest of the family is eating cheesesteaks.”
“My presumption is that somebody stuck up a cheesesteak inside the pizza, wrapped it up and said: Eureka. And from there it kind of became a cult thing,” Silver said. “We’ll see a lot of people at night bringing seven or eight slices and the whole group will do the Philly taco.”
The South Street tradition that has expanded through the decades has a new brew to pair with it. The restaurant unveiled Philly Taco Beer, a Belgian-style brown ale conditioned with Brettanomyces, on Sunday.
Ironically enough Philly Taco Beer was not created by a local brewery. After having had their fair share of Philly tacos, Wymore of St. Louis' Perennial Artisan Ales (St. Louis MO) and Joey Redner of Cigar City Brewing, (Tampa, FL) decided to create an ideal complement.
“They would all come for Philly Beer Week and coming here to eat a Philly Taco for the last five years. Until they’ve decided to brew a beer rich enough for this combination,” Silver said. “It is an experience. That is the best way to describe it.”
You can try Philly Taco beer at Jim’s Steaks, and it will also be hitting the shelves in early June in time for Philly Beer Week.