By Glen Macnow

323 East Gay Street, West Chester

The first stop on our “Clash of the Tacos” challenge was a hole-in-the-wall joint in a strip mall in West Chester, abutting a Mexican bodega. A soccer game on Univision is coming from the overhanding TV, and the place is festive on a Saturday night.

It’s a friendly BYOB, and you might want to actually bring your own drink, because when we asked the waiter for tap water, he warned us, “It tastes like a swimming pool.” We took his word for it and ordered a few sodas instead. They also have a smoothie stand there, in case you think that your tacos will go well with some mango-strawberry-pineapple concoction.

But we didn’t want to fill up on drinks. We wanted to order up a slew of the $2.50 tacos. We sampled the pollo enchilado (spicy chicken), chorizo (Mexican sausage), al pastor (seasoned pork) and campachano (a chorizo and beef blend).

Glen Macnow taco

La Rancherita. (Photo credit: Glen Macnow/WIP)

But our favorite was the bistec con napales (steak with cactus). The beef was tender but spicy, and the chunks of cactus tasted like sautéed zucchini, if somehow zucchini could be made to taste delicious.

The tortilla wraps weren’t great – store bought as opposed to homemade. But the fillings were all outstanding. All very different, all very succulent.

This place is a winner. Good enough to make my “Clash of the Tacos” finals? Too early to say. But definitely worth trying if you’re ever out in West Chester.

Score: 83/100

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