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OS Reviews: El Jefe’s Taqueria

Lots of new restaurants have opened up shop in State College this summer. Among the most notable is El Jefe’s Taqueria, which launched at 352 E. Calder Way back in May.

How does El Jefe’s stack up against our beloved Yallah? Is it better than Chipotle? Tacos are hard for our staff to pass up, and El Jefe’s loaded menu was calling our name. Naturally, we headed over to check it out.

Renata Daou: Steak & Chorizo Bowl

I ordered a rice bowl with steak, chorizo, lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, corn, cheddar cheese, and pico de gallo. It was amazing! I felt that compared to Chipotle, for example, the ingredients seemed fresher. It was delicious, and I am not sure what it was, but there was something spicy in my bowl, which I liked. The condiments were great, and the reggaeton playing just made the experience much better.

Mackenna Yount: Tacos Al Pastor

I’m a sucker for good tacos, and I’ll never turn down a chance to try a new taco joint. Luckily, El Jefe sure did not disappoint. I got tacos al pastor with plantains, pickled onions, fajita veggies, cilantro-lime rice, and salsa, and it was so good. The pork was perfectly seasoned and juicy, and the toppings I picked tied everything together.

I loved the feeling of the place too, it has a vibrant atmosphere. The Chipotle-style setup makes ordering easy with much better options to put in your tacos, burritos, or bowls. I don’t really have any complaints. It’s close to campus, delicious, and you get a bang for your buck since they really load up your tacos.

Anna Wiggins: Carne Molida Picante Tacos & Churros

El Jefe’s is definitely worth the visit. I got the tacos with the Carne Molida Picante, black beans, Mexican rice, cheese, red cabbage, and sour cream. The tacos come in two (!!) tortillas, which adds to the structural integrity of the taco. Though what I got was simple, it was flavorful and a pretty darn good taco.

The showstopper was undoubtedly the churro. It was fresh and warm. The outside was crunchy and coated in cinnamon and sugar. The inside was soft and gooey, and it melted in my mouth. The best part was the dulce de leche center. I would come back for the churro, and the churro only (though I’ll definitely be back for some tacos).

Frankie Marzano: Chicken Burrito

I thought the burrito was very solid overall. The portions were pretty big and the chicken seemed very fresh. I liked the queso the most, and I think it blew Chipotle’s out of the water. I’d definitely come back, and I’m excited to try what’s on the breakfast menu sometime soon. Side note: The chips were also very good.

Annie Kubiak: Pollo Asado Tacos

I love a good taco, and El Jefe’s did not disappoint. I got three tacos with pollo asado and an array of toppings. I was pleasantly surprised that there were so many topping options so I could personalize my taco just to my liking. My favorite part of my El Jefe’s experience was when I saw a rack of hot sauce bottles at my disposal. I’m a girl who likes spicy foods, so I appreciated being able to add an extra kick to my food.

Ryen Gailey: Nachos


I’ve been dying to try El Jefe’s since moving back to campus, and I was pleasantly surprised. I ordered nachos with ground beef, and chips, and queso. I was going to go for tacos, but I am personally not a fan of soft shell tacos and wanted something crunchy instead. I’m also picky, so I asked for the nachos without jalapenos, pico, or sour cream. I was shocked since I ordered it through GrubHub, and I know sometimes your order can get confused or mixed up in the process.

While they didn’t look too appealing, they were absolutely delicious. The ground beef had the perfect amount of spice and was actually quite salty. I was a little disappointed at the portion size, and some of the chips at the bottom of the container were a bit soggy, but perhaps all that would be better if I actually ordered and ate in person. The queso was equally as good as the nachos, and I’m really picky about my queso and stay loyal only to Qdoba when I’m craving it. I’m really excited to grab El Jefe’s as a quick bite in the future, and especially with their late-night hours, I know I will be a frequent visitor.

Mackenzie Cullen: Chicken Tacos

I ordered three chicken tacos with pico de gallo fajita veggies, rice, and cheese, all of which encompassed great flavors. The only downfall is that all the flavor was masked by the blandness of the tortilla shells they were in. Overall, I’d give it a 6/10.

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