Los Gallos – A Puebla native brings authentic Mexican flavor to South Philly
Jutting out proudly on the corner of Wolf and 10th streets in South Philadelphia, Los Gallos Mexican Taqueria offers customers an authentic Mexican dining experience.
Bright yellow, orange and blue colors adorn everything on the exterior and interior walls, as the ceiling decoration and the dishes themselves evoke owner Luz Jimenez’s native town of Puebla, Mexico.
“We try to make it nice, bright and welcoming just like in Puebla,” said Jimenez. “We want people to see the colors outside and be reminded of the colorful dishes inside.”
Jimenez’s start in the food industry began over a decade ago with a job at a taqueria in Mexico City. Friends then brought him to Philly where he worked as a dishwasher at many restaurants, including Melograno and an oyster bar.
“When you arrive knowing no English, the only thing you can do is be a dishwasher,” said Jimenez.
However, armed with two years-worth of English classes at a community college and his firsthand experience working in Philly’s restaurant industry, Jimenez decided to start his own place in 2009.
The business was originally a grocery store that also served small dishes like tacos, tortas and quesadillas, but with a growing clientele Jimenez decided to turn it into a fulltime restaurant in 2012.
For the name he chose Los Gallos, meaning “the roosters,” inspired by an old street he lived on in Puebla called “Calle de los Gallos.” Images of the namesake rooster are everywhere inside, from paintings and pictures on the walls to napkin holders and small statuettes.
The menu is enormous, boasting over a hundred different Mexican dishes, including quesadillas, tortas, chilaquiles, tacos a la plancha, enchiladas and tostadas. Among the most popular options are the classic tacos al pastor, carnitas, rib eye, alambres and guacamole. The tacos rancheros burst at the seams with avocados, cheese, lettuce and your choice of meat filling.
To drink, there’s agua de jamaica and Jarritos, the classic Mexican soft drink. In addition, every order starts with chips and salsa and each day there are blackboard specials, such as costillas de borego, salmon a la diabla and tacos de tinga.
The wide, rich variety of Mexican dishes on offer is relatively new to the city, a result of Philadelphia’s growing familiarity with Mexican food.
“When we got started it was hard to introduce customers to authentic Mexican cuisine,” said Jimenez. “There were few other Mexican restaurants in the area. It was mainly Italian places.”
Today the restaurant’s clientele has grown to include customers from many backgrounds and walks of life.
“Now we have a wide variety of customers,” said Jimenez. “Latinos, Mexicans, Asians, African Americans. Our goal is to bring people in and introduce them to Mexican cuisine.”
Both English and Spanish can be heard in the restaurant, with Jimenez commonly greeting customers by name and wishing them a buen día. The business has also expanded to include a thriving catering business that serves local colleges and private events in the area, such as bachelorette and birthday parties.
In addition, Los Gallos participates in food festivals seeking to teach customers about Mexican cuisine. You can check them out at the upcoming Italian Market festival on May 19-20.
“Everyone is welcome at Los Gallos,” smiled Jimenez. “Come and enjoy authentic Mexican dishes.”
To learn more about Los Gallos, place a catering order or check out its extensive menu, visit www.losgallosmexicantaqueria.com.
The restaurant is open seven days a week from 11am to 10:30pm.
Los Gallos, 951 Wolf St., Philadelphia, PA 19148 215-551-1245