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October 09, 2023

Hi-Lo Taco, which began as a Fishtown pop-up, to open restaurant in Midtown Village

Owner Jeff Newman envisions a 'simple concept' where people can enjoy homemade flour tortillas and margaritas

Food & Drink Tacos
Hi Lo Taco Opening Provided Image/Hi-Lo Taco Co.

Hi-Lo Taco is opening its first restaurant in Midtown Village later this fall. The business began as a pop-up in Fishtown.

Hi-Lo Taco plans to open its first restaurant this fall after spending more than a year as a pop-up operation in Fishtown. 

Hi-Lo Taco is set to open at 1109 Walnut St. in Midtown Village. The menu will look similar to Hi-Lo Taco's pop-up offerings, with breakfast tacos made with eggs and cheese, and more savory tacos made with smoked meats. The tacos will come on HiLo's signature flour tortillas and use locally-sourced produce. The restaurant also will offer taco bowls, homemade salsa and cocktails, including with margaritas and ranch water.

The 3,000-square-foot space – the former location of Bareburger – will include a 15-seat bar, a 50-seat dining room and a takeout window. 

"The concept is simple," owner Jeff Newman said in an emailed press release. "A fun American-style taco bar centered around our homemade flour tortillas and smoker where Philadelphians can come as they are, kick back and stay awhile while enjoying ranch water, margaritas or local beer. I'm grateful for the local community and loyal Hi-Lo fans I've cultivated through my pop-ups and can't wait to welcome them into the reimagined Hi-Lo space." 

Newman has spent 18 years in the restaurant industry, working under executive chefs like Mario Batali and Michael Tusk. He has consulted for more than 60 food brands at The Culinary Edge, which helps business owners create restaurant brands. After moving to Philly in 2020, Newman began his "Newman the Food Man" pop-up venture at the now-shuttered Sarvida in Fishtown. 

By early 2022, Newman's focus shifted to tacos and he changed the name of his business to Hi-Lo Taco. The pop-up ran at Sarvida until April 2022, when Newman closed it to focus on opening the restaurant. In the interim, Hi-Lo Taco has been operating smaller pop-ups throughout the city, including in Center City for National Taco Day last Wednesday.

The shop in Midtown Village is Newman's only finalized plan for Hi-Lo Taco, but he told the Philadelphia Business Journal earlier this year that he wants to open more Hi-Lo Taco outposts, something he wasn't able to do with multiple stand-alone restaurants before he moved to Philly. 

Newman is providing updates on the restaurant's progress on Instagram