There is a new restaurant in town and State College is going crazy for it. Over the summer, Penn State students got word of El Jefe’s Taqueria being placed underneath the apartment complex, The Maxxen, making it the first business to be placed underneath it.
El Jefe’s is a popular restaurant that has 6 locations, one of which is at Lehigh University. Students there were huge fans of this Mexican street fare, which is why El Jefe wanted to open a location in none other, than Happy Valley.
After only being back at school for less than two weeks, Penn State students seem to be frequenting this spot a lot. El Jefe’s is open from 8 a.m. to 4 a.m., which is perfect for those early mornings and late-night bites with friends. An extensive menu offers a variety to all customers as they serve up classics such as tacos, burrito bowls, quesadillas and fajitas.
They also offer breakfast here which is something different and unique for a taqueria. The breakfast options include dishes like huevos rancheros, breakfast burritos, egg sandwiches and even french toast.
One thing that El Jefe’s prides itself on is its fresh ingredients. Their website says, “El Jefe is a simple man who believes in simple pricing and putting quality first. Only the best meats and seafood make the cut. Every morning at the break of dawn El Jefe heads down to the local produce market to buy the freshest vegetables for his taquería. Everything is made in-house and the only thing that comes in a jar is the 50 different Picante sauces.”
VALLEY decided to ask some students their opinions on El Jefe’s, specifically which spot they would prefer.
Morgan Green, a sophomore majoring in early childhood education, says, “I think it will definitely be hard after the hype wears down of a new place because Chipotle has been around for a long time and it’s a staple here at Penn State. People might not be as willing to try a new place when they know they love their order at Chipotle.”
We asked another student, Joe Peterson majoring in business, he says, “I don’t know what will happen, but El Jefe’s seems to be doing very well right now since the line has been out the door most nights. The two places are a little bit different.”
Setting it Apart
What sets El Jefe’s apart from other restaurants downtown? VALLEY decided to find out.
Devon Morganstein, a freshman, told VALLEY, “I think it is really cool that they are open until 4 a.m. because not many places stay open that late. It is nice to have somewhere to go and get some really good food with friends.”
It seems as though everyone is super happy to have this new addition as Peterson says, “Pizza shops are the only ones who stay open super late in State College so this is something totally new. Also, everyone loves Mexican food.”
Green says “I decided to try the fajita bowl because that is my favorite thing to get at Mexican restaurants and I had to try it from there. I thought it was pretty good and I would get it again.”
Morganstein told VALLEY, “I decided to get a chicken cheese quesadilla because you can never go wrong with that. It was so good and they give you sour cream, salsa or guac complimentary.”
“I tried the burrito and it was fire! They had so many toppings and hot sauces,” Peterson said.
What would you try? Tag, @VALLEYMag, on Instagram with photos and reviews of El Jefe’s. Let us know what you think. You can visit El Jefe’s Taqueria at 352 E. Calder Way, State College.