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Oct 17, 2009 07:47 AM

The "New" Taqueria Moroleon -- An Observation

We had dinner at Taqueria Moroleone’s new location last night. The menu is pretty much the same, with some small price increases. For the time being, it's BYO, but that won't be the case much longer because they're supposed to have their liquor license pretty soon.

It's a real step up from their old digs. Tablecloths, cloth napkins, a "hostess stand." But that's not all that's changed. Now, granted, this observation is based on only one visit, so it might be terribly inaccurate. Anyone who had ever frequented the old location knows that it was a place that appealed to a broad spectrum of customers. The folks eating there came from the McMansions that surround Kennett Square, from the small apartments in the borough, and everywhere in between. And in fact, I always regarded the old TM as a place that was a living example of the positive influence the Latino community has had on Kennett Square. I can't think of another small business in the area that attracts locals from all walks of life the way the old TM did.

But, taking a look around last night, that all seemed to have changed. Instead of TM's usual diverse clientele, the Latino community was conspicuously absent from the two filled dining rooms. It’s a puzzle to me since, except for the ambience, little has changed. There are the same friendly servers, the same tortilla chips and salsa on the tables, the same music playing in the background. But it just doesn’t feel like it did before. I hope I’m describing my observation appropriately because if this is not an isolated occurance, this change is not a positive one. Kennett Square has an ongoing effort to “bridge” the community; is Avondale somehow different? Have others who were “regulars” at the old location noticed the same thing at the new location, or was last night simply unusual? Can anyone shed some light on my observation?

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  1. It's entirely possible that the previous clientele of working class Mexicans may not feel comfortable in the more formal atmosphere. I had gone to the old location for many years, and although it certainly had a more diverse clientele, I never noticed the Chadds Ford real-estate crowd sharing their tortilla chips with their Spanish-speaking neighbors or vice versa.)

    Certainly, one sees "gringos" gladly accepted in other Taquerias, such as those in Norristown and South Philly, but I have yet to see a single instance of either culture reaching out to the other. Perhaps a wasted opportunity among uni-lingual cultures merely occupying the same space simultaneously but not sharing an experience in any meaningful way.

    Sorry if I sound cynical, but I would find the current situation far more serious had noticed any discourse among these neighbors over the past ten or so years.

    3 Replies
    1. re: phillyjazz

      Oh, I beg to differ. One doesn't have to look too far into the Kennett community to see significant evidence of "discourse." In fact, you might want to attend one of the monthly meetings as a guest. It might be a real eye-opener, and I mean that in a good way.

      1. re: CindyJ

        I've been twice and saw a good number of Mexicans, but more non-Mexicans. Don't know how the prices were at the old place, but t hey are not cheap considering the ingredients used. Might be a factor.

        1. re: gfweb1

          The prices (which I've always considered very reasonable, given the size of the portions) really haven't changed that much in the new location. Most entrees still top out at $13-14.

    2. Have you been to El Sombrero on 41 in Avondale? How does it compare? I went to Taqueria Moroleon a few times in the old location, but don't remember much except it was HOT inside... that I didn't mind, but that's all I really remember. We had El Sombrero tonight- great, authentic, we really enjoyed, although we took home, so I don't know about the service (they did forget our extra guacamole and chips).

      4 Replies
      1. re: threebears

        If that's the place I'm thinking of, I was there only once. Is that the place with the grocery in the back?

          1. re: threebears

            I don,t think El Sombrero has a grocery in back. The back is now the sit down part of the restaurant. They do have some cold cases in front for take out dinners, etc. There is a Mexican grocery (related?) a short distance before El Som. In any event, I think the food there is good and well priced. I used to split my time between El Som and Taq Moroleon but with the latter being further away now I probably won't return. El Sombrero is byo.

            1. re: danbee1

              I thought you meant the store next door...

      2. Well it is official. They are BYOB no more......