In early 2013, Breezy’s Cafe opened their doors in a little commercial space at 2011 Reed St., a location that nobody would confuse for prime real estate. The space was in the middle of the block, with a funeral home across the street, a large warehouse next door, and numerous blighted properties nearby. At the time, we worried that the challenging address was going to make it difficult for the business to make a go of it, and our suspicions were confirmed when Breezy’s moved to a far more desirable location at 20th & Federal before the year was out. Unfortunately, Breezy’s wasn’t able to make things work at their new location, closing after a few years. The wonderful On Point Bistro took over their space on Federal Street. Their original space on Reed Street has remained vacant, though it was used for a time as a commissary.
Earlier this month, we learned that a new business finally opened in the former Breezy’s on Reed Street, a Mexican place called Philly Tacos. Per Billy Penn, the chef for this restaurant originally cooked at Los Taquitos de Puebla in the Italian Market, but he split from his old partner a couple years ago and has been searching for a new space. He signed the lease for the Reed Street location in late 2016, but a lousy accountant jammed him up in permitting for much of the last year. Finally, the business opened its doors a few weeks ago, and the tacos are officially cookin’. If you like variety, this is the place for you, as there are 33 taco varieties on the menu, along with numerous other options. Hours are Monday – Friday, 3pm-10pm, and Saturday 9am-10pm.
Make no mistake, this is still a very challenging location, and Philly Tacos will have their work cut out for them to make this business a success. But compared to 2013, things have changed dramatically in the immediate area, and we’re somewhat optimistic about their chances as a result. On Reed Street, we’ve seen several old buildings get demoed and replaced with new construction, while new homes have also filled vacant lots on the 1900 block. We’ve likewise seen several new homes rise around the corner on 20th Street, including the first phase of the 22-home development at the corner of 20th & Wharton. In the coming months, look for construction to start on another forty-six homes, in a project that will go from Wharton to Reed, and fill the vacant lot in the image above. And as we’ve covered ad nauseum, there are numerous infill projects all over this neighborhood that are generally replacing vacant lots and empty buildings with new homes.
With all these new people arriving in the neighborhood, it stands to reason that some of them will enjoy a taco from time to time. Who knows, maybe Philly Tacos will even consider opening for lunch during the week? We work just a few blocks away, please allow us to dream.