Four New Tasty Taquerias on the Main Line

Mexican cuisine is staging an invasion—and we couldn’t be happier.

It was Alfredo Aguilar’s posole—a fiery, pork- and hominy-rich Mexican soup—that won over Gladwyne’s Carlos and Hayley Fink. Their obsession made them regulars at Aguilar’s Las Cazuelas in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties, thanks to so many catering orders of posole.The Finks yearned to bring an authentic Mexican eatery to our area. So when the former Fuji Mountain space in Bryn Mawr became available, they pounced on the opportunity. The pair acted swiftly to transform the bi-level space into Xolo Tacos. The former sushi bar is now a sleek, mirror-backed margarita bar displaying 50-plus bottles of tequila. The downstairs dining room has mahogany floors, and ceilings splashed with sunrise orange. Its walls bear traditional art and south-of-the-border décor collected by the Finks over the years.The final touch was an expert chef. The Finks tapped Aguilar, who was looking to relocate. His tacos are made with traditional flair—roasted pork, Mexican sausage, or seared skirt steak, chicken or tilapia, with cilantro, onion and lime. You’ll also find tostadas loaded with tomatillos  and Cotija cheese, chiles relleños filled with picadillo, and a queso fundido of melted Chihuahua cheese with chorizo—all of it close to perfect. The hearty, fine-tuned fare has helped solidify the restaurant’s mi casa, su casa vibe.Xolo Tacos has some competition in Bryn Mawr. El Limon, a Conshohocken-based chain of no-frills taquerias, recently popped up in the former Tres Guppy’s space, not long after the June opening of its Ardmore location. El Limon operates as a BYOB—with free margaritas for all and finely chopped chorizo tacos are a signature at all five locations. Also head straight for any dish drizzled in the luscious mole. El Limon founders Isaias Dominguez and Manuel Ruiz are planning a new eatery that serves liquor, coming soon across the street from the original El Limon on Fayette Street in Conshy.The Main Line’s Mexican invasion continues with Adam Gottlieb and Jeff Wallin’s surf-inspired Pipeline Taco in Wayne. CIA-trained Gottlieb and surfing enthusiast Wallin offer perhaps the healthiest taco varieties in the area. For the full experience, opt for the Yo Momma, a crunchy classic corn taco shell stuffed with grass-fed beef, lettuce, pico de gallo. and cheddar cheese. Or try the Mojo, with antibiotic- and steroid-free grilled chicken and cilantro-lime sauce. Unconventional—and less health conscious—options include the Buffalo-style shrimp loaded with blue-cheese crumbles, and the tasty tempura-battered mahi-mahi accented with mango-papaya salsa. To balance out your taco intake, Pipeline’s impressive smoothie menu offers nutrition-packed pick-me-ups with ingredients like polished flax and coconut milk.Elsewhere, acclaimed restaurateur John Tunney III has set his sights on Suburban Square for the first Pennsylvania location of his Besito Mexican chain. With 150 seats, a full bar and outdoor seating, the hacienda-inspired restaurant is not unlike Xolo Tacos, featuring elevated takes on authentic dishes. Besito standouts include tableside guacamole, a jumbo lump crab cake with roasted habañero cream, and shredded- chicken enchiladas baked in mole poblano. More than 75 imported tequilas are also on hand at the bar.All of which begs the question: Has the Main Line reached critical taqueria mass? We’ll see, say the Finks.“There was a need for authentic Mexican—and good tacos—in our community, and we wanted to develop that footprint in Bryn Mawr,” says Carlos. “I guess others had a similar idea.” 
DetailsXOLO TACOS: 14 N. Merion Ave., Bryn Mawr, (610) 527-7777. 
EL LIMON: 845 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, (484) 222-6928; 61 W. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, (484) 413-2999. 
PIPELINE TACO (closed): 165 E. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, (610) 225-8226. 
BESITO MEXICAN: Suburban Square, 105 Coulter Ave., Ardmore, (484) 417-6825.

An ample burrito from El Limon//All photos by Steve Legato.

The margarita bar at Xolo Tacos.

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 Chips and fresh guacamole at El Limon; Pipeline Taco’s Buffalo shrimp rice bowl.

Pipeline Taco’s namesake dish; Tilapia tacos from Xolo Tacos in Bryn Mawr

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