By Adam Wong ’17 and Dana Ferrante ’17
It was dark times in the Kingdom of Harvard Square. Last spring, Felipe’s, our one true savior for the midnight munchies, had vanished, hiding from the world in a little cramped corner of Flat Patties. We looked longingly at the promising new location, then still boarded up with brown paper wrapping as if it were one of their stacked steak burritos, hoping for the day when we could once again eat our nachos and quesadillas in the comfort of Mexican decor. We waited (some of us more patiently than others) for Felipe’s to once again ascend the throne.
Then, the day came. It was a Tuesday night, the middle of finals week, and as we lethargically ‘studied’ in the dining hall, we heard the news: Felipe’s just reopened. (It was a finals week miracle!) Dropping everything, first and foremost our jaws, we ran over through the mist to Brattle Street. We hardly even recognized it. As we peered in through the huge front windows and into the ginormous new space, we could already taste the dreamy burritos to come.The little “dump on Mt. Auburn street,” as owner Tom described it candidly, was now a two-floor (three, if you count the rooftop bar that is still undergoing construction), half rustic brick, half artful stucco, restaurant with a new attitude. Repurposing wood from the demolition and incorporating hand-made metalwork from Mexico, Tom has created a space that bursts with energy and style.
Arriving just after midnight, the staff had just begun cleaning up, yet kindly let us in to have a look at Felipe’s 2.0. Before we could even ask him about how business was during their soft-opening that night, Felipe’s manager Francisco explained how excited his staff were about the change. Having run two restaurants out of the Flat Patties location during the spring and the summer, the staff now have the much deserved space to make everything from carnitas to queso fondido for the hoards of customers to come. But the line, fully equipped with shiny, spotless stainless steel, is only half the show; in the basement lies fully decked-out kitchen space for all of the prep work (and more prep space means more guacamole).
And good thing they have all that new space, because the food is going to be flying off the line once word gets out about their new menu items. Felipe’s Mexican spread now includes fish tacos, shrimp tacos, and by popular demand, a salad option. Additionally, for just two dollars more, every burrito has the option of getting deep fried and smothered in a delicious queso sauce. But, it wouldn’t be our beloved Felipe’s without a deal. Perfect for the loyal college student fanbase budget, Felipe’s maintains the lowest costing and best tasting Mexican food in the area.
As if we could ever want more, Felipe’s has outdone itself yet again. Now sporting a full bar, soon to be stocked with classic Mexican liquors (read: tequila), the restaurant aims to claim first-prize for the best, most authentic margaritas in town.
But what could be better than splurging on top-quality Mexican food with an ice-cold bottle of Pacifico? Doing all of that, on a roof. Up another staircase (or an elevator, if you prefer) lies a sweet rooftop lounge with a bar of its own for easy access. Though there’s still some work to be done, the owner told us the roof will be open as soon as the weather permits. The open sky above the patio, he explained, will ensure both constant sunlight and an unmatched view of the Cambridge skyline. With the roof included, Felipe’s has a restaurant capacity pushing just about 200 party people.
The implications are enormous. Just think: no longer must we suffer while indecisive roommates weigh the merits of getting either their drink or grub on. Now a veritable wonderland of both gastronomy and beauty, Felipe’s is the nighttime destination.
The crown jewel of our Harvard Square kingdom has finally returned.