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Silvestre Torres. Photo: Eli Siegel/AL DÍA News.
Silvestre Torres. Photo: Eli Siegel/AL DÍA News.

Taquitos de Puebla III showcases authentic Mexican food in Philly

One of the original pioneers of Mexican cuisine in the region, Silvestre Torres, serves a wide variety of Mexican classics at his restaurant in South Philly.

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When Silvestre Torres moved to Philadelphia in 2002 to escape the economic crisis in his home country of Mexico he was shocked to find there was hardly any authentic Mexican food in the city.

“There was only one Mexican restaurant here, la Veracruzana,” said Torres, who is originally from the city of Puebla. “I saw that they didn’t really have any authentic dishes and realized that there was an entirely new market for food that I knew how to make.”

Prior to arriving in Philadelphia, Torres worked for two decades in high-end restaurants in Mexico City, known as “restaurantes internacionales.,” where he learned how to cook an array of cuisine, and how to properly run a restaurant business.

When Juan Carlos Romero, currently the owner of Philly Tacos in Point Breeze, arrived in Philadelphia shortly after Torres, the two decided to join forces to serve their country’s native cuisine. They began with a small taco stand at a Mexican Independence Day celebration hosted by the Mexican Consulate in Philadelphia.

“Juan Carlos ran the register while I cooked the food,” Torres recalled. “It was a great success. That’s where the taqueria was born.”

Together, the two opened the original Taquitos de Puebla on 9th Street. However, Torres wanted to pursue other options, so he left a few years later to open up his own place in Delaware, where he expanded the menu to include more than just tacos.

“I converted it to a full restaurant,” said Torres. “We served things like enchiladas de mole, mocajetes, fajitas and camarones a la plancha.”

The restaurant in Delaware was so successful that he opened another in the area. Torres had no plans to return to Philly, until clients, who were traveling to Delaware to eat his food, asked Torres to do so.

That’s when, in 2015, he founded Taquitos de Puebla III (III, because it’s Torres’ third restaurant).

The concept for this location is to serve 100 percent Mexican dishes. Some of the most popular items include the molcajete mixto (stone bowl with chicken, Mexican sausage, beef steak, cactus leaf, hot dog, fresh cheese and green onions), carne a la tempiquena (Beef steak filet, one mole enchilada, poblano peppers with cream, refried beans and guacamole) and the cemita poblana (bread filled with meat you want, queso oaxaca, avocado, chiles in vinegar and papalo).

The mole they use for their mole enchiladas is shipped directly from Puebla, and heated in a warm chicken broth.

Going forward, Torres hopes to add innovative, modern dishes, like salmon with huitlacoche sauce, to the menu.

His daughters are currently in culinary school in Mexico. They plan to join the business after they graduate.

“In order to compete with the greats you have to be prepared,” Torres said.

For more information about Taquitos de Puebla III, check out their website taquitosdepuebla.com or their Facebook @LostaquitosdePueblaIII. They deliver via eat24 and UberEats. Address: 1201 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147. Hours: everyday 11am to 11pm. Prices: $6 - $15.

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