One of my first and best discoveries in the city of Reading was all the taquerias. I didn’t even know these places existed beforehand. I knew I was a fan of Mexican and other Latin American restaurants, but the taqueria was all new to me. The name is fairly self-explanatory, but for other outsiders like me, the quickest description I can give is that a taqueria is sort of the Spanish equivalent of a deli. There are a variety of menu items and room to sit if you would like to do so, but the bulk of the business comes from take out tacos. These tacos are made authentically, which means two soft shell corn tortillas are fried and then stuffed with meat, onion, and cilantro and served with a side of sauce.
Taqueria El Carreton
Taqueria El Carreton is the first taqueria I ever visited, before we even moved into the city. Since then, the restaurant has been remodeled and looks great. Normally tacos go for $1.50 each, and they come with a side of limes and fried jalapenos. However, if you stick to chicken or pork (roast or seasoned), you can get ten tacos for $10. This deal is what keeps us coming back, along with the exceptionally seasoned chicken. Getting that many at a time also means the leftovers are there when I need them as the perfect breakfast after a late night out on the town. For the more adventurous eater, you can also order tacos with beef cheek or tongue.
El Carreton is located in the old Reading Outlet Center at 817 Oley Street. Call ahead to avoid waiting for take out, but if you are like me and sadly only speak English, don’t be intimidated when they answer the phone in Spanish. The staff here is always bilingual and very accommodating.
El Puente Taqueria
Near the railroad bridge on N 6th Street, there’s a small Spanish grocery and convenience store called El Puente. At the end of the building one will find a small room with a counter and a few booths, and this is the taqueria. I dropped in while on a walk downtown one Saturday morning after a guy who works in Fleetwood told me he regularly drives into Reading to grab lunch here. Out of all the taquerias and Mexican restaurants I have been to in Berks County, this one has the simplest menu and is also the least English-friendly. Luckily my 9th grade Spanish class was enough to order dos pollo, and the staff was gracious enough to bear with me. Once I got my food, I was pleased to find it was more than worth that slightly awkward interaction. The tortillas are made just across the street at El Ranchito bakery, so you know they’re fresh, although I would guess that most restaurants in the city get their tortillas there too.
El Puente Taqueria is located at 431 N 6th Street.
Taqueria Jiminez was first recommended to us by a long time reader of the blog. I decided to check it out when I was working in the area one day. The tacos here are not as heavily seasoned as across the street at El Carreton, but they are still good. My co-worked ordered the pupusa and loved it. I recently paid Jiminez another visit and decided to try the chorizo sausage tacos. They seemed to have a hint of maple syrup in the seasoning, which was amazing. After placing my order, I happened to see the list of daily specials and wished I had asked for one of the cactus tacos, but I guess that will have to wait for next time.
Visit Taqueria Jiminez at 810 Oley Street.