Tres Jalapeños’ El Azteca

Owner Jaime Tapia
Photos by Tina Garceau

One can often wonder how truly occupied individuals are when they delay or dissolve their commitments by uttering “I’m busy.” When those words come from the mouth of Jaime Tapia, they register not as an indication of escapism but rather as an affirmation of enthusiasm. Having left Mexico as a teenager to seek opportunity and stability, the 39-year-old has become an amigo to many South Philadelphians as the owner of Pancho Villa, 1800 S. Fourth St., and Tres Jalapeños, 901 S. Eighth St.

“I definitely appreciate the love that people have for what we do,” the resident of the 2900 block of Wharton Street said from the latter establishment. “That causes us to be thankful and makes us very interested in giving them our best every time.”

The Grays Ferry dweller has overseen the Bella Vista haunt since 2010, continuing a calling that has included South Street employment. Open daily from 10 a.m. to midnight, the location offers authentic and Tex-Mex cuisine, with Tapia, who initially desired to be a musician, quick to sing the praises of his personnel.

“Our food is really fresh, and that helps us to have many loyal customers,” the proprietor said of the ever-popular constituent of the thriving Mexican scene that entices guests to the 9th Street Italian Market and its surroundings. “Especially on Cinco de Mayo, we did many deliveries because people trust that we are proud of our food.”

If eager chewers choose to venture inside rather than to welcome a delivery person, they will find the 60-seat space incredibly inviting, with Tapia the central provider of pleasantries. Meal and beverage promotions encourage enduring connections to his venue, too, and the owner values variety with a menu that one can best describe as expansive yet inexpensive. Entrenched lovers of the Guerrero product’s culinary offerings can gain the greatest measure of satisfaction through the 17-item-strong platters section, with the El Azteca being the most popular.

“We will make 10 to 15 sales each day,” Tapia said of the $13.75 item. “I’m happy to share the recipe because along with being tasty, it’s healthy, too.”

Certain not to break the bank or anyone’s promise to go for nutrient-rich options, the El Azteca, whose taco components come with the choice of chicken, ground beef, or pork, not only heads the platters portion but also gives Tapia the increasing feeling that Tres Jalapeños will continue to be a commended community entity.

“I have had some rough moments along the way,” he said. “However, I like what I have here because people are responding to my food, and not everybody can say that.”










Monterey Jack and Colby-Jack cheeses

Chicken, ground beef, or pork


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Broil the onions through the cumin, and puree them to form a green sauce. Heat the tortillas on a flat grill, and roll them with the cheeses. Add the sauce and more cheese, and place in the oven for five minutes. Serve with rice and beans, and unite the enchiladas with two crispy tacos with the aforementioned protein options. ■

Tres Jalapeños

Owner: Jaime Tapia

Opened: 2010

901 S. Eighth St. • 215-465-0607