From Guatemala with love: El Merkury makes Rittenhouse debut with churros, tostadas and more

Photo: Steven F./Yelp

A new street food-inspired Central American spot offering tostadas, pupusas, churros and more has opened its doors in the neighborhood. The new addition to Rittenhouse, called El Merkury, is located at 2104 Chestnut St.

The former pop-up shop gone brick-and-mortar is the brainchild of Guatemalan-born chef Sofia Deleon, who told the Inquirer, "I want to represent my country in a different light. What you hear about Guatemala may be corruption and poverty, but I want people to know there's more."

On the menu, diners can expect to find plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free fillings for the taquitos and pupusas (stuffed, griddled corn flour patties), along with meatier options like smoked chorizo and chicharron pork.

The extensive selection of gourmet looped churros includes the Ron Con Pasas, with vanilla bean cream, rum-soaked raisins and toasted nuts; and the Cajeta, with housemade goat-milk caramel, crushed caramel candy pieces, and caramelized slivered almonds. (You can check out the full menu here.)

With a four-star rating out of ten reviews on Yelp so far, El Merkury has been warmly received by patrons.

"You have to order via kiosk. I am not sure if they accept cash," said Mel M., who was among the first Yelpers to review the new spot on May 12. But it's worth it: "They make the best churros on this side of the Mississippi. Seriously. They are amazing! And they come with complimentary vanilla ice cream!"

Yelper Casey P. added of the ordering system, "It would be nice if the menu descriptions were in the iPad too, so I wouldn't have to look up at the written descriptions on the chalkboard while ordering, but it was OK ... This is a small thing though, since the tostadas were good."

And M K. said that in addition to the spiced squash and queso fresco taquitos, "I also ordered a side of cheese baked rice with jalapenos and corn. I had no idea this was a thing. It was amazing, pure comfort and I will get this every time I go here. I may need to replicate this at home too if I can, it was that fantastic."

Swing on by to take a peek for yourself: El Merkury is open from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-8 p.m. on Sunday.
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