Austin-inspired breakfast tacos in the heart of South Philly
A new Bella Vista shop is touting the joys of breakfast tacos—and giving the traditional breakfast sandwich a run for its money.
Mornings can be rough, especially as temperatures drop and hours shorten. Since September 21, Nano Wheedan has been making mornings brighter—and tastier—through the breakfast tacos offered at Taco Heart, 1001 E. Passyunk Ave. The 7th & Passyunk shop is inspired by Wheedan’s years as a Texan and the “soul feeding” breakfast tacos he encountered in Austin.
“I’m not looking to be transformative because this menu, in essence, exists everywhere there,” the proprietor said of the ubiquity of his offerings in the Lone Star State. “However, I do take pride in being able to give the community something that is new to most people here.”
Wheedan first encountered breakfast tacos when he moved to Austin from Philly in 2004. As recounted on Taco Heart’s website:
[In Austin Wheedan found] sunshine, swimming holes, and an easy kindness with nearly everyone he met. What he didn’t find was an egg & cheese for breakfast. Not on a sandwich, not on a bagel, nothing. No amount of warm weather was going to replace the happiness brought by the salty, fatty, comforting hug of a breakfast sandwich.
Eventually, Wheedan discovered the breakfast tacos now offered at his shop.
For the last month, plenty of patrons, including many South Philadelphians who have told Wheedan of their Texas roots, have been delighting in his decision to pay homage to his former stomping grounds. Nine tacos and three bowls fill stomachs via pre-orders and limited walk-up orders, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on weekends.
Wheedan initially sold his wares via pop-ups at the Bok Building and Columbus Square. The new shop gives him an opportunity to continue a culinary journey that began when he was 16. Now 42, Wheedan counts Taco Heart as his sixth restaurant opening. The cozy haven is a nutritional love letter to Texas that’ll make folks wish the morning had more hours.
“There are no shortcuts here with anything that we do,” the owner said, noting the care that goes toward making tacos.
Highlights include a chorizo-egg-and-cheese creation that Wheedan declared a must-have for carnivorous customers and the egg-cheese-and-avocado-heavy Migas concoction that will charm vegetarians. “For people to step out of their comfort zones to try something new, you have to give them something that’s pretty noteworthy. That’s what we’re looking to do here.”
Wheedan is considering evolving into a seven-day business. He many also expand Taco Heart’s dessert and coffee items list, and peddle reheatable goodies. For now, Wheedan, whose time in Texas included an identity as a musician, enjoys having people sing his praises, but, in his mind, the nods should go to the food. “It’s impossible to refuse this food,” he said with a smile, “so come see what resonates with you.”