The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
By James Carter, Staff Writer • June 20, 2024
Opinion | NHL needs to bring specialty jerseys back
By Jameson Keebler, Senior Staff Columnist • June 19, 2024
Opinion | Hold your elected officials morally responsible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 18, 2024

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
By James Carter, Staff Writer • June 20, 2024
Opinion | NHL needs to bring specialty jerseys back
By Jameson Keebler, Senior Staff Columnist • June 19, 2024
Opinion | Hold your elected officials morally responsible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 18, 2024

El Jefe’s voted best late night menu in The Pitt News “Best Of” survey

Customers+eat+at+El+Jefes+Taqueria+on+Forbes+Avenue.
Kelechi Anucha | Staff Photographer
Customers eat at El Jefe’s Taqueria on Forbes Avenue.

Finding inspiration from street vendors, El Jefe’s Taqueria prides itself on bringing authentic Mexican cuisine to three different states Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

El Jefe’s was founded by John Schall in Harvard Square with the goals of flat-rate pricing and late-night service. After working with a Mexican-American cook, Fidencio Saavedra, at his first restaurant, Schall developed new recipes for authentic Mexican cuisine that inspired El Jefe’s Taqueria. 

El Jefe’s expanded to delivery apps such as Uber Eats and further locations, including the location on Forbes Avenue that community members often frequent.

The location in Oakland, where the King’s Court Theater used to stand, provides students with made-to-order Mexican food from 8 a.m to 4 a.m. 

I’ve never had bad service there,” junior psychology and gender, sexuality and women’s studies major Ashley White said. “Even at times when they’re crowded, the service is usually pretty quick, and they’re always stocked with all their ingredients and toppings.”

El Jefe’s offers a wide menu that allows patrons to order customizable tacos, burritos and bowls. The restaurant makes all their food in-house, except for the 50 different picante sauces. 

In addition to providing homemade food, the affordable pricing, with free extra ingredients such as fajita veggies, guacamole and lettuce is a perk for students on a budget like White. 

“The pricing is great, especially for a college kid trying to save money but still wanting to eat,” White said. “Plus, they take Panther Funds, which is nice.”

The restaurant has consistent pricing of $10.50 for a bowl, $10.25 for three tacos and $10.25 for a burrito. Included in these options, customers are also able to choose up to nine meat protein options, such as carne molida picante, a spicy ground beef, or camarones, sautéed shrimp. 

For vegetarians, the restaurant offers vegetarianos, which are roasted vegetables. 

“I don’t have any dietary restrictions, but I have vegetarian friends and it’s pretty easy for them to find things to eat there,” White said. 

In addition to the bowls, burritos and tacos, El Jefe’s offers a variety of sides including chips and queso, chimichangas and three different types of nachos. 

“I really like the nachos,” White said. “They’re my go to because I get all my favorite toppings and I get chips. The burritos are really good too. You can’t go wrong with a burrito.”

Sierra Wolfson, a first-year public health major, said the nachos are also her favorite meal. 

“I normally go to El Jefe’s a couple times a month and I think that they have pretty good prices,” Wolfson said. “I would definitely recommend it to a friend.”

Lizzy Golden, a first-year nursing major, also frequents El Jefe’s about once a month. 

“My favorite food is a bowl with chicken,” Golden said. “I think the pricing and everything is pretty good since you get free guac.”

El Jefe’s offers authentic Mexican drinks, including horchata, a rice based milk drink, Jamaica cold tea and Nantucket Nectar juice. With an opening time of 8 a.m., El Jefe’s has an extensive breakfast menu, including food like the Mexican burrito bowl, huevos rancheros, french toast and breakfast sandwiches.

“I would recommend El Jefe’s. It’s open late, so if you have a late-night study session or you’re up late, doing other more fun things, and don’t want pizza or chicken, you have other options,” White said. “Plus, if you prefer Mexican Coca Cola over regular ones like I do, they usually have those, or Jarritos, which I can’t find anywhere else.”

About the Contributor
Emma Hannan, Staff Writer