The restaurant, which moved into the storefront formerly occupied by Real Taco until it closed last December, attracted a steady stream of customers throughout the afternoon.
“We’ve been open since noon and we’ve been slammed,” co-owner Tom Brush said. He estimated that by 2:30 p.m. the restaurant had already served 250 meals, despite a computer system failure.
“The computer has been the biggest challenge,” he said. “But it’s the least important. We can still make change.”
Co-owner Felipe Herrera, a native of Mexico who helped establish the four branches of the popular Anna’s Taqueria chain before striking out on his own with Brush, was responsible for revising the recipes, while Brush focused on administrative matters.
Prices range from $1.75 for a beans- only tostada to $4.50 for a grilled vegetable plato. Burritos cost $3.10 (10”) and $4.00 (12”)—a notable drop from Real Taco’s prices of $4.95 and $5.95, respectively.
Brush showcased a vertical, Mexican-style spit with an onion and pineapple marinated pork on it behind the orange, green and brown tiled counter.
“Everything we make is fresh,” he said. “Nothing is from cans.”
Windows looking out onto Mt. Auburn street, no longer obstructed by the criss-crossing polygons of Real Taco, fill the room with light. Customers filed past a large black and white photograph of a man in a Mexican hat, passing a ladder leaning next to the door—a sign that decorating is still in progress.
“We just had to open,” Brush said. In February he and Herrera told The Crimson they meant to open in mid-March.
Reactions were overwhelmingly positive.
“I used to go to Real Taco a lot. And I wasn’t disappointed by Felipe’s,” said Brandon Madsen, a first-year at Northeastern University.
Emily Schreider, who was sitting with Madsen at the restaurant’s one outside table, agreed.
“I’m really picky about Mexican food and this was great,” she said.
Several customers thought that Felipe’s menu was similar to that of the popular Anna’s Taqueria chain.
Harvard Law School students Russell Archer and Andy Fischel said the food tastes “exactly the same as Anna’s.”
“Except for the guacamole is not as good,” Fischel said.
Felipe’s Taqueria will be open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. throughout the week, but Brush said that “when everything settled down” the restaurant would be open until 2 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
-Staff writer Joseph M. Tartakoff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.