Los Tres Chilitos: Delicious Oaxacan Mexcian Cuisine in Jersey City Heights

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Finding delicious food in Jersey City and its neighboring towns is not a difficult feat to accomplish, especially when it comes to worldly favorites like traditional Mexican food. One thing that is not always guaranteed, however, is feeling right at home when you stop by your local restaurant — as we do at Los Tres Chilitos. Keep reading to find out why this hidden gem, Los Tres Chilitos, located at 456 Central Avenue, should be next on your list of must-try spots.

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How Los Tres Chilitos Came to be

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In the heart of The Heights, Los Tres Chilitos was founded by Haydee Gomez and Jose Luis Martinez who originate from Oaxaca, Mexico. With humble beginnings in Jersey City, Los Tres Chilitos began over a decade ago with a food truck serving the Jersey City community near the downtown area before the owners, after much hard work and dedication, were able to expand once they saved enough money. 

The goal was simple: to serve delicious authentic Mexican dishes while ensuring that the customers always felt welcome.

“They worked every day for the past ten years to make Los Tres Chilitos what it is today,” said Luis Martinez, son of Haydee and Jose. The fundamental core of Los Tres Chilitos is family, and what many immigrants pray for when coming to America: the hope of a brighter future. 

Read More: El Rinkoncito Peruano: Authentic Peruvian Food in Jersey City

“What inspired them to open a business was their children,” said Luis. “For them, life in Mexico was not easy, so they wanted their children to have and live a better life in the United States.”

In fact, it was their children that invented the name of the restaurant.  Los Tres Chilitos {which translates to “the three little chile peppers” in English} was thought up by Luis and inspired by him and his three siblings. The family hopes to one day further expand the business to more than a single location as during their free time, Haydee and Jose enjoy traveling with their family and relatives, and of course, when there isn’t a pandemic to worry about, they especially visit their homeland of Mexico.

The Experience

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Conveniently placed in the always-bustling Central Avenue, Los Tres Chilitos is a casual, no-frills, Mexican spot where you’ll be greeted by a staff that immediately makes you feel comfortable. 

“The atmosphere within the restaurant can often be described as warm and welcoming, especially for Mexicans who want to feel like they are back in their native country,” said Luis. 

See More: Korai Kitchen: A Delicious Bangladeshi Restaurant in Jersey City

With two accent walls in bright red and green commemorating the Mexican flag, the traditional decor adds character to the restaurant inspired by the owners’ native town of Oaxaca. 

The pandemic has created obstacles for many businesses trying to stay open amidst the uncertainty and changing protocols, but the restaurant staff at Los Tres Chilitos has gracefully persevered despite the pressure. “We’ve tried to just adapt to COVID to keep everyone safe,” said Luis. “It hasn’t been easy with indoor dining, but we are getting better little by little.”

The Food

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Los Tres Chilitos has an extensive menu with 4-5 specials that change every day. With a distinctive Oaxacan style, the owners set themselves apart from other spots by always providing the freshest ingredients {no canned beans, no frozen vegetables or meat, only hand-made corn tortillas} where the flavors are uniquely delectable. 

Some of the popular dishes are flautas de pollo, gorditas, enchiladas verde de pollo, chilaquiles, as well as nachos, quesadillas, and tacos. Los Tres Chilitos is open seven days a week from 8AM to 10PM for indoor dining, takeout, and delivery through Grubhub.

Drinks + Dessert

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The restaurant offers a variety of refreshing “aguas” {traditional Mexican-style punches} that are served by the glass with different flavors to choose from such as fresh watermelon, a sweet + sour drink made from dried hibiscus flowers, and horchata {a popular rice and cinnamon beverage}.

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For those with a sweet tooth, Los Tres Chilitos is the perfect place to try a Mexican twist on some well-known treats like flan, tiramisu, pastel de tres leches {three milk cake}, churros with ice cream, and plátanos maduros fritos {deep-fried sweet plantains} that will leave even the pickiest dessert lover satisfied.

Follow Los Tres Chilitos on Instagram and Facebook to stay up-to-date with all of the menu options, events + news.

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Yarleen is a lovable Leo and a proud Jersey girl with Cuban roots. She’s an actor and freelance writer with an affinity for poetry, astrology, and fried plantains. Born in Jersey City and raised in West New York, where she currently resides, this Hudson county native can usually be found with an Americano in hand, or any caffeinated beverage really. A St. Peter’s University alum with a degree in Communication and Media Culture, Yarleen was News Editor of her college newspaper, while also reporting for the Hudson Reporter and The Jersey Journal. When she’s not on stage, enjoying a new hobby {currently rollerblading}, or typing away at her laptop, you can catch her running along the waterfront listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers or exploring NYC galleries.