Flyby Tries: New Jefe's

By Truong L. Nguyen

If you’re a Harvard student, you know that El Jefe’s Taqueria is essential to campus life. Where else can you take refuge from a terrible Mather JCR party and reunite with classmates you haven’t seen in years, all while eating an incredible, slightly greasy burrito?

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you know that the place where these precious mems took place is no longer Jefe’s — earlier this summer, our beloved taqueria moved from its long-time residence on Mt. Auburn and into that funky-looking building on Brattle.

So, the Jefe’s location change brought up many necessary questions: Does the new Jefe’s have the same nostalgic, rugged feel? Is it still easy to find someone (anyone!) you vaguely know and join them in the line? Will another Harvard Shop take its place?

Luckily Flyby investigated the new Jefe’s (meaning I went there three times over the past three days and am now giving my unsolicited thoughts).

Cons of the new Jefe’s

No, you cannot cut the line as easily as you could before. The restaurant has a new, streamlined layout, which did unstreamline my personal burrito ordering process.

Personally, I was not a fan of the multiple TVs added. Reading about Russia’s energy attack on Europe was a bit of a vibe kill after my night out.

New Jefe’s was stingier on the guac. I have no idea if this has to do with their fancy new building, but it was upsetting.

The new location does not have the same cozy, homey, everyone is on top of everyone vibes. Since New Jefe’s hasn’t been lived in the same way, it did feel a bit sterile. Why was I not getting pushed in line?

Pros of the new Jefe’s

As one of my friends remarked, “the quality of seating is far better.” New Jefe’s does have more seating: there are high-top tables by the line and long benches on the upper deck. Turns out my friend meant that the benches seemed physically sturdier, and, I suppose, that too, is a pro.

You are still able to order quesadillas at night.

I appreciated many of the decor choices. Aesthetically the new Jefe’s is quite similar (the walls are still bright teal). But there were some new, thoughtful additions, including a hot sauce display wall.

The space is bigger and located closer to the yard. That might mean more freshmen, but you can’t win everything.

The highlight of my new Jefe’s experience, though, was that over the three nights, I still ran into literally everyone I have ever met at Harvard. No matter the location, Jefe’s will always be the ultimate post-game spot and its charm truly comes from the people inside (aww). Am I still sad to lose the old Jefe’s? Absolutely. But, I can’t wait to consecrate the New Jefe’s with section-crush sightings outside class, unsolicited, whole-restaurant sing-alongs, and disagreements with that one non-Harvard-affiliated individual who doesn’t understand Jefe’s has no line.

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