Where to get Your Birria Taco Fix in Columbus
We recommend eight spots making the most of our local birria boom.
Fresh from Tijuana via Southern California comes Central Ohio’s hottest food trend: birria. Traditionally known as a hearty, meaty soup composed of mild guajillo peppers and goat or sheep (among a host of other ingredients) and served with tortillas on the side, birria vaulted in recent years from its regional Mexican origins to the Americanized Instagram limelight. The goat was traded for beef (sometimes lamb or chicken), and this complex dish was distilled into one primary preparation: flavorful stewed meat folded into tacos.
Birria quesadillas, pizzas, egg rolls and even ramen soon followed, but tacos still account for the majority of local offerings and, in my experience, expresses the genre at its best. The taco’s corn tortillas are first filled with birria meat and cheese, then dipped into the rich, red consomé (soup broth) and finally grill-top fried to a delectable crispness. They’re usually served with a cup of the consomé topped with onions and cilantro, which can be sipped, used for dipping the tacos or both.
However messy and tasty it may sound, just know that it’s even messier and tastier. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best local versions of the trend, so far.
If the Los Agavez taco truck (3166 N. High St.) in Clintonville wasn’t the first to follow the national birria trend in Columbus, it was certainly close, and its version is among the best. The decadently rich and satisfyingly crispy rendition is a four-napkin affair that delights by offering a pleasing variety of textures and a complexity of flavor that more than fulfills the promise of the buzz surrounding the dish.
AJ’s Birria (3689 W. Broad St.) represents a new wave of food trucks launched specifically to serve birria, and it does it well. Its beef is as good as anyone’s, and its consomé is my undisputed favorite. The tacos hit the mark (though I might have liked them a bit crispier), and thanks to the deliciousness of the broth, the birria ramen is far better than the curious culinary mashup may sound.
A place serving pizza, gyros and chicken wings isn’t the most likely suspect for tasty Mexican food, but that’s what you’ll find at Martha’s Fusion Kitchen (3331 Maize Road). While Martha’s special Guanajuato quesadilla—perhaps best described as a consomé-basted, extra-large birria quesadilla in a pizza box—ups the ante on richness with an abundance of cheese, the popular tacos strike an ideal balance.
More Birria Standouts
Nonato’s Kitchen (2321 Morse Road) expanded its existing taco truck menu to include birria on the weekends. It offers tacos with or without cheese and features one of the spicier consomés.
Blackbird Kitchen (inside Woodlands Tavern, 1200 W. Third Ave.) is one of the few central locations carrying birria so far, and its tacos are notable for generous portions of meat and a complementary broth with a nice, spicy kick.
Mi Pueblo (1993 Hard Road) offers both lamb and beef versions, and its à la carte consomé benefits from the curious and enjoyable inclusion of chickpeas and rice.
Las Tapias Birria (various locations) is another food truck specializing in birria; it distinguishes itself with queso tacos that actually use toasted cheese in lieu of tortillas. It also offers bucket-sized portions of birria ramen. Keep an eye out for Las Tapias’ new restaurant, which opens this spring on the West Side.
Columbus Birria (various locations) is surprisingly busy even during the off hours, and the food truck’s customers line up for dishes such as unique birria rolls.
Looking for a taco truck’s location? Find it at streetfoodfinder.com.