On The Town

Papi’s Taco Joint opens in Fells Point

The owners of Alexander's Tavern open a Mexican-inspired bar on Aliceanna Street.

Alexander’s Tavern owners Charlie Gjerde and Carrie Podles opened the Mexican-inspired Papi’s Taco Joint in the old Bradley’s/J.A. Murphy’s/Lulu’s space.

The business partners have done quite a makeover of the space, which was featured on Bar Rescue a few years back.
All of the dark wood looks refinished, there are added stained-glass
accents, a kitchen window was created for a more open feel, and an
outside courtyard will open up later in the spring.

A bright and
colorful chalkboard advertises the bar’s happy hour (Monday-Friday, 4-7
p.m.), which was exactly the time we went last Friday. Specials include
$3 house margaritas (50 cents more to add flavor), $3 draft beers, $6
sangria, and $1 tacos. I tried a traditional margarita, made with
100-percent blue agave Camarena tequila and house-made sour mix, which
had a soft spice and ample amount of tart.

Also available are
various margarita flavors (everything from prickly pear to bananas
foster), mojitos, martinis, and both local and Mexican beers. You could
even get a Coronita (mini Corona) dumped in your margarita, which we saw
a few customers enjoying.

As for the food, Papi’s is inspired by “the antojitos
of Mexican street food trucks, carts, and markets,” so its menu
features items like hominy and yucca frita. We sampled the elote
esquites—corn on the cob dusted with lime, chile pequin, cotija, Mexican
mayo, and lemony herb epazote—which was unique and delicious. We
also appreciated the “build-your-own street taco” menus, in which you
could choose your own tortilla, meat, salsa, and style.

it’s still early for Papi’s (and the poor space seems cursed), we have
high hopes. Not only does it have successful business owners, but the
concept is thoughtful and creative—albeit in a neighborhood with a lot
of taco competition already.

To read more about Charlie Gjerde and his journey to Alexander’s and Papi’s, pick up a copy of our April issue.