After opening its doors in mid-October, Harvard Square’s new Mexican eatery El Jefe’s Taqueria has aimed to distinguish itself from multiple culinary competitors in the Square.
El Jefe’s owner John Schall said he wants to create a higher quality dining experience by using fresh ingredients in his taqueria, which replaced The Taco Truck at the 83 Mt. Auburn St. storefront.
Schall, who is also owner of the Square restaurant Fire + Ice and a founder of the original Fire + Ice Franchise, added that El Jefe’s offers a simpler pricing strategy than many of its competitors.
“When you go into other taquerias, you never know exactly how much you’re paying because everything costs money,” he said.
“We’ve freed the guac,” Schall added, pointing to the fact that items added to a base meal, such as guacamole, are free.
In an effort to make a name for itself among several other Mexican restaurants in the Square, El Jefe’s keeps its doors open late, closing at 4 a.m. every day. According to Schall, the taqueria will also soon begin opening at 8 a.m. every morning to serve breakfast. Schall emphasized that both of these features are unique from other taquerias in the area.
He also noted that the burritos and Mexican bowls are the most popular dishes so far.
Some students said that they heard of the new taqueria through word of mouth. William A. Chang ’19 said some of his friends were talking about the new restaurant as a dining option with relatively shorter lines.
Maximilian J. Ubiñas ’17 said that he discovered the space by chance.
“I just saw it walking by,” he said, adding that the close proximity to the student Houses was a definite boon and that he enjoyed the tacos.
El Jefe’s Taqueria is also aiming to immerse itself more formally in the local community. Schall said that, starting in December, the eatery promises to donate a dollar for every burrito or bowl purchased during the second week of every month to Y2Y, a student-run homeless shelter that opened this weekend. Schall said he hopes to maintain an ongoing relationship to support Y2Y’s efforts.
When asked about future plans for his new restaurant, Schall said he prefers to concentrate on the present.“Right now, we’re just focused on making this the best it can possibly be,” he said.