- Neighborhood: Brewerytown, North Philadelphia
- 2730 West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA
- Phone: 215-232-1413
- Website | Facebook | Twitter
- Cuisine: Mexican
- Alcohol: BYOB
- Price: $$
- Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the results of the first ever Girard Avenue Taco Throwdown!
The contestants: recently opened Shifty’s Taco in Brewerytown, and very recently opened Union Taco in Northern Liberties. An intrepid group of tasters and I subjected ourselves to the one-order-of-each approach to the entire taco menu (plus guacamole and salsa, for good measure) on offer at both places. The goal? Not to crown a winner (because anyone should be happy to have either shop in their neighborhood), but to highlight the best tacos–and alert you to some missteps–at each. Overall, we had great experiences with friendly and helpful staff at both places. Through an extremely scientific tasting, note-taking, and discussion procedure, we reached consensus on some favorites. Honorable mentions are as follows:
Brian Freedman finds that Shifty’s Taco is a good reason to head west on Girard Avenue.
[T]he tacos here are Shifty’s raison d’être, and on that count, Chef Geoff Gabrick and his team (including Jeb Woody of Honey’s and Zack Shell of El Fuego) acquit themselves admirably. The Rub was a highlight, its tender strings of braised brisket singing a song of adobo and chipotles, the slow simmering heat building yet never cresting: Lovely. The Hem and Hawl, on the other hand, demonstrated the kitchen’s aptitude with fish. Well-cooked and tender tilapia done on the plancha was anchored by an attractive slaw that, though it could have been a touch brighter, nonetheless brought enough crunch and liveliness to each bite to win me over.
Excellent new tacos at Shifty’s on Girard [Philadelphia Weekly]
Shifty’s Taco [Foobooz]
Shifty’s Taco wasted no time opening after getting the go-ahead from the Health Department. In a tweet on Friday evening the Girard Avenue taco shop announced they had passed their final inspection and planned to open the next evening for dinner. Zack Shell, who was formerly a manager at El Fuego will be operating Shifty’s in a soft-opening mode today and tomorrow with hours from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Shifty’s Taco will be serving up their full menu and hours. Delivery (Broad to Schuylkill, Girard to Spring Garden) is about a week away and this weekend will see brunch launch with options like huevos rancheros, chorizo egg burritos and plantain bread pudding.