Martha’s Fusion Kitchen Adds Depth to Columbus’ Mexican Food Scene

For Martha Armenta, birria isn’t a trend. It’s the flavor of her childhood.

Beth Stallings
Owner Jose Zacatelco and chef Martha at Martha’s Fusion Kitchen

For Martha Armenta, birria is not some trendy, Instagram-famous dish. It’s the flavor of her childhood. When she was growing up in Guanajuato, Mexico, the stewed meat with fiery red peppers is what her mom cooked at home and, for some time, what her dad used to sell. 

So, when it finally came time to open Martha’s Fusion Kitchen with her business partner, Jose Zacatelco, in January, there was no question what would be the darling of the order-at-the-counter menu—layered and flavorful chicken and beef birria served nearly a dozen ways. In tacos and burritos, of course. But also on fries and atop nachos. 

And, most notably, in a pizza-quesadilla mashup called Guanajuato pizzadilla ($18.99). The 12-inch behemoth is a play on something Armenta’s mom made at home (only bigger, she laughs). It’s a choice of chicken or beef birria and gooey provolone cheese between two pan-fried flour tortillas, served with a side of onion and cilantro-topped consomé. The dish is gooey, salty, crispy on the edges, schmeared with refreshing guacamole, and fittingly served in a to-go pizza box. 

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Both the chicken and beef birria are a flurry of chile flavor—sweet and mild guajillo, smoky and fruity pasilla—seamlessly intertwined with cilantro, onion and garlic. They don’t use a lot of seasonings, Armenta insists; it’s all about the steps taken to flavor the meat—a technique learned cooking at home with her parents. 

Guanajuato pizzadilla with chicken, mulitas with beef, mango agua fresca and churros at Martha’s Fusion Kitchen

Both chicken and beef are given a long, hot bath in seasoned water until tender, and then marinated with birria spices. That enriched broth is the base of both deeply flavorful, cure-all-your-problems delicious consomés—you get chicken or beef to match your birria filling.

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For a similar dish, but not quite as heavy (or large), turn your attention to the mulitas ($10.99), which feature fresh, crispy corn tortillas and a side of consomé. Or the birria tacos (three for $10.99), which are perfectly charred and red-pepper painted on the outside. 

Beyond birria, the menu is long and far ranging, from Mexican staples to gyros, burgers to subs. If you must stray from the heart of the menu, turn your attention to the chilaquiles ($12.99) where homemade salsas shine. Choose green for bright and refreshing; go red for a complex, red pepper burn. And don’t forget the churros ($2.99)—2-inch slices of fried-dough joy, stuffed with dulce de leche, dusted with cinnamon-sugar, and drizzled with chocolate. 

A note on directions—since opening, Martha’s has been masquerading as a pizza joint on Maize Road. The new sign is forthcoming, but in the meantime, it’s easy to miss. If you see a sign for Bella Pizza, you’re in the right place. 

What to order: Birria tacos with beef and consomé; chilaquiles; churros 

Martha’s Fusion Kitchen 

3331 Maize Road, North Linden, 614-914-8833