The owners of Mexican restaurants Alebrije introduce a whole new concept: Tacos Guac n Bowl, a quick and casual eatery located on Lancaster Avenue in Reading.
Rather than the full-service sit-down meals Alebrije is known for, Tacos Guac n Bowl takes the counter service route, offering a fully customizable, made-to-order menu of tacos, burritos and burrito bowls with seemingly endless possibilities.
And while everyone opening a new restaurant these days talks about using the freshest ingredients, owners Oscar Soto and Juan Carlos de la Mora believe diners can really make a difference at Tacos Guac n Bowl.
“You can see it right now – they’re making rice for the dinner rush,” de la Mora said, gesturing behind the counter. “That’s what we want to do here, and I think customers will notice. “
“We don’t buy anything frozen,” Soto added. “The food comes in, we cut it, we prepare it and we cook according to the number of customers we have. We have the guacamole, which we make every morning, and now we make it two or three times a day. We have five different kinds of salsa and all the salsas we make here.
“Everything is fresh. I know everyone says that, but you can taste it.
How to order at Tacos Guac n Bowl
Tacos Guac n Bowl’s main menu consists of just four entrees – burritos, burrito bowls, tacos, and quesabirrias, which are described as a cross between a quesadilla and a taco, served with salsa eaten for dipping.
In many cases, this is only the start of the journey, however, as burritos and bowls consist of a four-step ‘build your own’ process where the guest chooses from one of six roasted proteins or vegetables. ; two varieties each of rice and beans; basic fillings such as grated cheese, sour cream and, of course, guacamole; and, finally, one of the five house salsas.
Customers also choose the protein in their taco or quesabirria.
Side dishes like crisps, salsa, and guac are also available, as are homemade aguas frescas – a popular Mexican fruit drink (fresh, never canned or powdered, obviously).
“You can come here and order a different meal each time,” said de la Mora. “This is what is good
“You are not going to be bored. It’s fun just to try different things. Today I want chicken in a burrito and tomorrow I want steak in a bowl, and the next day I’m going to have a quesabirria. There are so many options. “
Tacos Guac n Bowl can also be a healthy or vegetarian choice.
“If you don’t want tortillas, you don’t have to buy any,” Soto said. “We have food, our low carb bowls. If you don’t want rice it’s fine, just have beans. And we have vegetables on the menu. No meat? No problem.”
What makes Tacos Guac n Bowl so good
However, if it’s not about dietary restrictions, you’ll probably want the tortillas.
Tacos Guac N Bowl cooks food using only top-notch ingredients, including corn tortillas made by local bakery Reading Tortillas la Huasteca – best for tacos, Soto said.
“We don’t use or buy cheap produce, we only use high quality,” he said, also praising the restaurant’s braised beef tongue for its freshness. “We buy fresh meat – and it tastes different because we don’t put it in the freezer and don’t thaw it.
“We don’t cook like 20 pounds of chicken because we don’t want to put it in the freezer. We cook about five, six pounds a day, for the day, and that’s what we use.
Guests can rest assured that they are not only receiving a carefully prepared lunch or dinner at Tacos Guac n Bowl, but authentic Mexican cuisine as well.
“Our food, the taste is homemade, like when mom cooks, because we use these same recipes,” said de la Mora.
Has the future already arrived?
Tacos Guac n Bowl is a major change from the three full-service Alebrije restaurants run by Soto and de la Mora, which is entirely intentional and by design.
Since the arrival of COVID-19, the restaurant industry has been battered – first by closures followed by seat restrictions and lower attendance, and more recently by a labor shortage continuous work.
Running a restaurant with a fast-paced, relaxed counter service experience where most customers order take-out adapts to changing consumer preferences while allowing Tacos Guac n Bowl to operate with fewer workers.
“It’s a new experience, a new challenge,” said Soto. “It’s hard to find people to work, so we decided to bring some real authentic Mexican food like street tacos with less staff because we think that’s the way to go right now due to of the pandemic. The world is changing, so we have to adapt.
They face potential obstacles from the start. The small storefront at the corner of Lancaster and Baker avenues – the last home of Giannotti’s Pizza & Subs – has only one row of dining tables, with only street parking available.
If the Small Business Route works for Tacos Guac n Bowl, however, the concept could begin to grow throughout the City and County of Berks.
“If we’re very successful, we try to open more restaurants like this in this area,” Soto said. “It’s less stressful.
“Let’s see how it works, but we try to be the best. And our customers say, “Oh, that’s really good! “
Tacos Guac n Bowl
Address: 1040 Lancaster Ave., Reading