Truck Stop: Mexi-Cali

Posted: August 23, 2013

What to eat: The truck has been a favorite of students, doctors and professors in University City for 27 years, so it's safe to say you're bound to find something you'll like.

The details: No shortage of good - and affordable - burritos, quesadillas and soft tacos on the menu. We loved the pork carnitas burrito ($5), packed with rice, beans, cheese and mild salsa; the chicken verde ($5), which went down smooth without beans; and the Mexi ($6), a delicious pork, guacamole and sweet potatoes mash-up. We wanted to try the steak quesadilla ($6.50). Vegetarian options are included, from spinach and roasted peppers burritos ($4.75) to tofu verde ($5).

Drinks: Water and soda ($1).

Where to find it: 38th Street near Walnut, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Social stuff: They're working on a Twitter account. Meantime, check out the menu at mexicalicafe.net.

Backstory: Owner Richard Frattura, 61, opened his cart on the University of Pennsylvania's campus in 1986, inspired by the Mexican cuisine he fell in love with during the '70s, when he lived in San Diego. The West Philly native added a Mexi-Cali restaurant at 40th and Spruce about 10 years ago. Sold it after suffering a stroke in November, and just reopened his cart this week after a lengthy recovery. "We offer fresh ingredients, and try to keep the cost down," Frattura says. "I make [the dishes] like I'm going to eat them." Customers flock to his truck for the quality food and genuine hospitality. Frattura calls many of his customers by name. "That's the way it should be," he says.


An exploration of mobile food operations, as relayed by wannabe food truckers David Gambacorta, Dana DiFilippo and William Bender.

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