I can’t tell you how long I’ve been searching for a really good breakfast burrito. Way before I started this blog in 2012. Breakfast burritos are not something I usually order on a breakfast or brunch menu any more because unfortunately I’ve just been disappointed by them too many times. Most of them haven’t been bad, per se, just not…satisfying. I always leave thinking, “Man, I really wanted to like that, but it just seemed like it was missing something.” They always somehow miss the mark. Until now. And it’s not because all Honest Tom’s Taco Shop serves are burritos and tacos, although it certainly doesn’t hurt, but because they’re just really…really good at it.
Honest Tom’s is located in the University City section of West Philly, near Penn’s campus. Their charming little shop is tucked away near the corner of 44th and Spruce, and is a favorite of locals. The shop was opened back in 2012 by owner Tom McCusker, when he decided to expand his business from his breakfast taco food truck into a full-fledged brick and mortar. Tom used to primarily serve his breakfast tacos around the Drexel University area and at local farmer’s markets, and eventually gained a huge following. While he’s added a lunch and dinner menu since opening the shop, Tom has never abandoned what brought him to the dance: breakfast.
The cozy little space is just big enough for a few tables and some bar stools at the counter, but during the warmer months and into the Fall they do have some outdoor seating available too, which is always a nice way to enjoy a meal. It can feel a little cramped inside, especially on weekends, so my recommendation is to visit during the week or right when they open. That’s what we did on our most recent visit, arriving at around 9:15 on a Saturday morning. There were only two other customers eating inside when we got there, but within minutes of ordering and after we picked a table, the floodgates opened and soon there was a line out the door.
One of my favorite things about Honest Tom’s (besides the food, of course) is their open kitchen area right behind the counter. I’m always a big fan of the open kitchen set-up because it not only demonstrates to customers that a shop is confident about the cleanliness of their kitchen area, but it’s also just cool to sit and watch your mega-huge burrito or taco fillings being slung around on the flat top and stuffed into fresh tortillas.
The menu is very simple. For breakfast, there are 2 choices: Breakfast tacos or a Breakfast Burrito, and the option of adding either bacon or sausage to both. Both are excellent. The lunch and dinner menu offers a few more options with chicken, beef, pork, or sweet potatoes and veggies for you veggie nuts. Sometimes they will throw in a special like a beef barbacoa taco or a mushroom quesadilla. They have a few sides like fresh tortilla chips with pico or their unbelievably delicious guac, and rice & beans. I honestly can’t think of anything else this place needs to sell to make it more awesome than it already is. Except maybe margaritas. 🙂
Oh, and they make their own sauces, too! We are all familiar with mild and medium, the “Halloween” sauce is a blend of garlic and jalapenos, and hot is a fiery habanero sauce. You know what they say…once you go green, it’s always Halloween! (actually, no one has ever really said that…I just made it up. But be sure to try the Halloween sauce. You’ll be hooked.)
Once you place your order at the counter and find yourself a seat, someone brings your food out to your table. Grub Boy and I didn’t have to wait long before our breakfast arrived. The sight of that giant burrito wrapped in white paper and a hot cup of coffee was enough to bring a tear to my eyes. Almost. Grub Boy was pretty excited about his tacos, too.
We do breakfast tacos a lot at home. But Honest Tom’s Breakfast Tacos (2/$6.50 + .50 for bacon or sausage) are just better. They’re served in fresh corn tortillas and filled with scrambled egg, home fries, pico, guacamole and cheese. Again, the freshness of these tacos cannot be overstated. GB wasn’t into the breakfast meat that day. He finished one taco and was full. Oh gee…I wonder who’s going to get that other one?? (Yeah, he wanted to take it home to Mommy 😦 )
Remember a few minutes ago when I said that pretty much all breakfast burritos I’ve tried have been epic failures? I can never make that statement again. Without a doubt, Honest Tom’s Breakfast Burrito ($8.00 + 1.00 for bacon or sausage) is the best breakfast burrito I have ever had. Period. This thing is absolutely huge, and the levels of flavor and freshness leave me speechless. It’s a large flour tortilla jam packed with scrambled eggs, home fries, black beans, pico, guacamole, cheese, and a chipotle sour cream. Oh, did I mention that this place doesn’t charge extra for guac?? Yep, it’s included in the price! And as if I weren’t fat enough already, I added sausage to my burrito. You guys, this thing was EPIC. I doused it with Halloween sauce and finished the whole thing off. No shame.
Ok, so…if you’re really into breakfast burritos or breakfast tacos…or fast-casual Mexican food…or heck, just food in general…you need to eat here. I know it kind of sounds like I’m really hyping this place up, but honestly it’s not just hype. They deliver. Our food was outstanding. Their staff was very friendly. The atmosphere is hip and cozy. The parking sucks, but hey…you can’t have everything.
Honest Tom’s Taco Shop is located at 261 S. 44th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (MAP). They’re open Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM, Saturday, 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM and Sunday, 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM. For more info, follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.