At the corner of 8th and Christian Streets, you can catch some delicious late–night noms from Tres Jalapenos after the majority of Philadelphia has turned in. When I visit, though, it’s 12:00 p.m. Most of the tables, decorated with colorful serapes, are empty. Although it’s not much of a lunch spot, I’m drawn in by the menu. It offers a variety of options from jumbo quesadillas to burritos stuffed with beans and meat (or vegetables, if you’re vegetarian).

I settle on a taco salad with ground beef. While waiting, I sip on semi–sweet horchata and devour the tortilla chips at the table. Throughout the meal, more people start to pour in for a late lunch. 

The service is efficient and my waiter is kind. He teases me about how I’ll never be able to finish my meal. Challenge accepted. 

Photo: Emma Boey

When my food arrives, I’m greeted by a mammoth taco shell filled with beef, lettuce, and black beans, all topped with sour cream. The meat is juicy and fresh. The lettuce is just there to make me feel better about the calorie count of my meal. 

After I get about halfway to the bottom of the “salad,” I’m full. I force a few more bites and then resign my fork to the table. 

Of course, I make room for the churros I order for dessert. They’re warm and sugary and soft—perfect for a late–night snack. 

Four churros later, I’m done with my meal. The waiter leaves me with a warm goodbye, and cracks a joke about how I didn’t end up finishing all my food. I’m full for the rest of the day. 

Usually, I’m a critic of Tex–Mex. But for Tres Jalapenos, I’ll change my ways. It might be a hike, but don’t fret, Tres Jalapenos delivers on Grubhub, Seamless, Doordash, and EatStreet as well. 

TL;DR:  Skip Frontera and give this spot a try

Location: 901 S 8th Street


Sunday–Thursday: 10:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.
Friday–Saturday: 5:00 pm–11:00 pm

Price: $$


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