Taco Heart brings Austin-style breakfast tacos to South Philly

Mount Airy native Nano Wheedan’s long road to opening a restaurant in Philadelphia this week began in 2005 when he — an aspiring professional musician and recent Harvard graduate transplanted to Austin, Texas — got a job opening Home Slice Pizza accepted to pay the bills.

Also on the first day of Home Slice, Wheedan met a baker named Philip Korshak. (We’ll get to him later.)

As he rose through the ranks at the trendy, expanding pizza joint, from bartender to manager to operations manager, Wheedan fell in love with an Austinite, Carinne Deed, as well as their breakfast tacos, the egg and cheese-filled flour tortilla specialty that’s the Southwest’s answer to the Northeast bacon egg and cheese sandwiches.

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Fascinated by how flour tortillas puff up when they hit the griddle (or comal), he began learning how to make his own while fighting back his dreams of musical fame.

After the couple married and moved to South Philadelphia, Wheedan set up a taco stand outside their home on 13th Street near Morris. Many locals did not understand it at first. “I gave them away,” he said. “I yell at people who are walking across the street, ‘Hey, do you want to try a taco?'”

Nano’s Tortillas, as it was called at the time, was starting to hit the food radar, and Wheedan set up an order form on Instagram and began a pandemic gig, making tacos in a Bok Building kitchen and picking them up at the customer arranged.

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» READ MORE: Nano Wheedan shares his love of breakfast tacos

Meanwhile, Wheedan’s old friend Korshak had moved to Philadelphia to open a bagel shop. Wheedan joined him as an investor in Korshak’s Bagels, which opened at 10th and Morris Streets in May 2021.

Wheedan became interested in his own shop and found a triangular building at the intersection of Seventh Street and Passyunk Avenue, just north of Washington Avenue.

It’s called Taco Heart. The name change?

“This restaurant isn’t about me,” Wheedan said last week in the kitchen, where a team of workers were mixing and rolling flour tortillas for pressing. “When I worked at Home Slice, I loved the owners. I always felt like it wasn’t about her and I appreciated that.”

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To deal with the crowds, at least initially, Wheedan has introduced an online slotting system to allow for pre-orders. The shop is open Wednesday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Although the specialty is the handmade flour tortilla, Wheedan offers corn tortillas from nearby Tortilleria San Roman. Customers can purchase tortillas, puffy chips and queso (for dipping), guacamole, homemade salsas, and mixed drinks and beverages without reservations.

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