Rick Bayless serving fresh Mexican food at Penn

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Rick Bayless at the Tortas Frontera at Penn, 3601 Locust Walk.

"College students want real food," veteran Chicago chef/author/TV personality Rick Bayless says.

They also are eager to develop their sense of taste during their college years.

That's why he believes that the bold flavors and scratch cooking of Tortas Frontera, his quick-service Mexican cafe, are a good fit for the University of Pennsylvania.

It opens Tuesday, Feb. 11 on the first floor of the newly renovated ARCH Building at 3601 Locust Walk on the center of Penn’s campus, former home of the Palladium and Gold Standard Cafe. Penn’s food-service provider, Bon Appétit, operates it.

It will serve the general public.

Tortas Frontera - this is the ninth one - espouses sustainability and sources most ingredients from 150 miles or closer. Even the Penn location's coffee supplier, Rival Bros., is local.

The menu includes tortas for breakfast, a guac bar, molletes (flatbreads), caldos (soups) and cazuelas (casseroles), salads, and gluten-free options. Much of it is cooked to order. It is open from breakfast through early dinnertime on weekdays.

Prices top out $8.95. 

Bayless' cooking shows include PBS's “Mexico: One Plate at a Time.” He was the champion of the first season of “Top Chef Masters.”

Menu is here.

Hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

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