Ruben’s Mexican Food in Federal Hill has quickly grown into a staple of South Baltimore. The owner, Ruben, is a Baltimore native, who was born and raised in Pigtown, and attended Francis Scott Key High School. He comes from a family of restaurant entrepreneurs. His father, Ruben Sr., started by selling crepes at the Baltimore Farmers Market (located on the Jones Fall Expressway) and word quickly spread about how great his food was. This inspired his son, Ruben Jr., to become a restaurant owner.
Ruben’s Mexican Food is fueled by Ruben’s passion for creating new and innovative dishes, which he tests out in his test kitchen in South Baltimore. Ruben even created his own unique hot sauce, which has quickly become a Federal Hill hit.
A few weeks ago, Yelena and I were able to try one of his new menu items, the Birria tacos (tortillas filled with a stew's tender, juicy meat that are dipped in a thin layer of a fat-based dipping sauce), and they were absolutely amazing. Ruben also whipped up the best shrimp tacos we’ve ever had -- another addition that was first conceptualized at his test kitchen.
Yelena and I have now had every item on the menu and there is a delicious choice for everyone. The staple though is the one pound burrito - we’ve had this more times than we’d like to admit. To wash all of this food down, we recommend the Mango and Jamaica agua fresca.
Ruben’s start-up attitude fuels the restaurant and has led to its status as one of the best Mexican food spots in Baltimore. We spoke to Ruben at length and were impressed by his business skills at such a young age and his deep connection to the South Baltimore community. Ruben not only gives back to the community, but also strives to be a pillar of the neighborhood.
One example is that Ruben employs local high school wrestlers from Digital Harbor High School at the restaurant. This is something incredibly important to him as he was a wrestler in high school and is grateful to now have the opportunity to give back to those like him. He also strives to treat his restaurant’s employees as one big family. Indeed, even his childhood friend, Ruth, was brought on as Ruben’s marketing director and is now an extremely important part of the business.
Ruben is not only is a master chef, but also a creative artist. I mentioned the hot sauce earlier, which Ruben created himself, but what a lot of people don’t know is that he also designed the logo and the packaging for the hot sauce. He is a true renaissance man and we affectionately refer to him as Mr. South Baltimore. We cannot say enough good things about Ruben’s Mexican Food, and we highly recommend you visit and order as much as possible.