Even better, the earliest generation of arrivals, having logged more than a decade working their way up from dishwashing to skilled line-cook jobs in kitchens of all persuasions, have taken the leap to join an entrepreneurial boom, opening restaurants of their own and delivering a treasure trove of soulful Mexican flavors that go far beyond the Chipotle burritos many Americans know, not to mention a world of specialties beyond tacos. Dozens of intricately spiced variations on al pastor.Tamales wrapped in corn husks and Oaxacan-style banana leaves.
Surely, once word gets out, three little tables (including the old school desk I sat at) won't be enough."¡ love a good burrito as much as anyone -- just not when I'm in a real Mexican restaurant.The Southeast Asian diaspora brought an exotic burst of pho halls and Asian markets to Washington Avenue in the 1980s that still bustle with commerce.In the late 1990s, a Puebla man named Efren Pelléz was accidentally left behind in Philadelphia by his coyote smuggler on the way to New York City, walked into David Suro's Center City restaurant Tequila's (the only awning he could find with Spanish words) and asked: "How far is it to New York?" "He was the first seed planted in Philadelphia," says Suro, who said Pelléz settled and helped launch the Puebla pipeline here before he eventually returned to Mexico where he died.
"30,000 people later ..." The population figures are up for debate, with official 2016 census data counting just under 5,000 living from Christian Street to Oregon Avenue, and 18,612 citywide.When the doors open at 8 a.m., the foil-wrapped bundles (just for three) fly out the door by the dozens., perfuming the art-filled yellow space with a powerful call to feast — one answered by hungry lines of locals and tourists who begin to gather at 5 a.m.They are the new underdogs." The Mexican community's mood, restaurateurs and activists tell me, has been deeply troubled by the Trump administration's anti-immigrant policies, fears of which last year led to cancellation of the annual Cinco de Mayo festival, El Carnaval de Puebla.The concerns were well-founded considering a recent investigation copublished by Pro Publica and the Inquirer found Philadelphia's aggressive ICE office arrested more undocumented immigrants without criminal convictions than any other ICE office in the country.If ever there was a moment to celebrate the energizing impact Philadelphia's Mexican awakening brings to us on a daily basis, this is it.