Justino Jimenez left his native Mexico about a dozen years ago with a dream of owning a restaurant.
This week - after years of working in Philadelphia, mainly for Marc Vetri and his crew at Amis and Vetri as recently as last weekend, and after various pop-ups, including Garage - he has made it.
Los Jimenez Mexican Cocin replaces a corner deli at Sixth Street and Oregon Avenue in South Philadelphia (2654 S. Sixth St., 267-773-8440).
The shop's zero atmosphere is more than overshadowed by sweet familia working the counter and tables.
Specialty is tacos. Jimenez's true gift is tacos al pastor, for which he marinates and seasons thin slices of pork and cooks them on a spit beneath a sweet pineapple that sweetens the pork and serves them over warm, soft corn tortilla. (The process is chronicled here.)
Platters of three come topped with cilantro and onions and accompanied by lime wedges and avocado. Figure on $6 an order for traditional, $8 for combos of two meats (such as tripe, tongue, and/or beef), and $9 for fancier varieties such as fish, crispy pork skin or shrimp. It's cash-only, though there's an ATM on premises.
Right now, Los Jimenez opens at 5 p.m. every day except for Monday, making it a wise choice for a drop-in or takeout before a Phillies game.
In the not-too-distant future, Jimenez plans to open earlier for desayuno.