New Yorkers are saying yes to the mess.
Birria — which means “mess” in Spanish — is one of the summer’s hottest food trends. The famously savory, sloppy stew is is traditionally made with beef or goat meat and is enjoyed alone with a spoon or stuffed into tacos, quesadillas, or mulitas (a sort of double-decker quesadilla), ideally with a side of consommé for dipping.
Fueled by social media—on TikTok, #Birria currently has over 850 million views, with videos showing people munching and dunking tacos, then exclaiming how tasty they are—the Mexican dish has taken the city by storm. New restaurants and food trucks are popping up around the boroughs to satisfy a growing hunger for it.
“Birria is trending,” 17-year-old Brandon Sanchez told The Post, explaining how he ended up at the Birria-Landia food truck in Jackson Heights. Sanchez, who lives in Queens, said his first bite lived up to the hype: his birria taco had “the right amount of spice to it — not too spicy but you get that tanginess of flavor.”
His friend, Zayda Hernandez, also 17, added: “Mexican food is already popular in itself, so with birria, more and more [restaurants] are going to pop up.”
José Moreno, a native of Puebla, Mexico, co-founded Birria-Landia with his brother Jesús in the summer of 2019. He notes that birria is typically seasoned with chili peppers, garlic and bay leaves, and served with onion, cilantro and lime.
He said the birria boom has obviously been a boon for his business, especially since it’s the only meat on the menu.
“If you sell birria, you don’t have to sell carnitas or other meats. Just focusing on birria will be enough,” Moreno told The Post.
He said social media has taught his customers exactly what to order — an extra bowl of broth for dipping — because they saw someone do it on TikTok.
“It was like ‘boom’ and everyone wanted to try it,” Moreno said. “Now all our customers never order tacos without the consommé because they want to take a picture for social media.”
The line at his truck — and at other eateries serving the delectable dish — can get so long that it wraps around the corner.
Alexis White, 24, of Jamaica, Queens told The Post that she doesn’t mind the crowds: “Birria is so good, so I honestly think it’s worth the wait.”
Kathy Yoo, 25, made the trip from the Upper East Side to Jackson Heights in search of the best birria “because of TikTok,” which she credits for the cart’s success.
East New York resident Kurt Hope, 34, stopped by Birria-Landia for his third time recently because the tacos are “addicting.”
“I keep coming back,” said Hope.
Ready to hop on the birria bandwagon? Here’s where to go.
The wait: On a Friday or weekend night at 7 p.m., expect wait times of upward of half an hour, although the line will likely be 10 to 20 minutes long on a weeknight.
What to order: Birria tacos ($3 each) with piping-hot consommé ($4 small/$6 large) are the classic order. Also worth trying is the mulita ($4) with chopped birria and melted mozzarella.
Why it’s a standout: It’s an inexpensive and casual, with a lively energy. (Neighbors have even issued noise complaints.) The original truck parks in Jackson Heights is the most popular, but the Williamsburg outpost also does a brisk business. A third location may be in the works.
5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. 77-99 Roosevelt Ave., Jackson Heights, Queens; 347-283-2162, QRUSAMenu.com/BirriaLandia
Monday-Friday 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday-Sunday 2 p.m. to 12 a.m. Metropolitan and Meeker Aves., Williamsburg; 347-839-8706
Las Delicias Mexicanas
The wait: Usually you can just walk right in, although it picks up on weekends for dinner.
What to order: Their birria ($15.95) is prepared with spicy goat meat and vegetables in a broth made with guajillo chilies; it’s served as a stew with a side of tortillas. Their pozole ($15.95), a Mexican soup made with hominy, pork and oregano, is also worth trying.
Why it’s a standout: Carrots lend a nice sweet note to the spicy broth, and the use of goat, not beef, makes it a more traditional option amongst some of the newer places offering the dish with other proteins.
Every day 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 2109 3rd Ave.; 212-828-3659
Chinelos Birria Tacos
The wait: Peak hours for the food truck are from 7 to 8 p.m., but the wait is usually no more than 10 minutes.
What to order: Birria tacos (three for $10, $14 if paired with consommé), tortas ($9) and or quesadillas ($10).
Why it’s a standout: The well-seasoned meat is perfectly complemented by a cool, homemade salsa. Plus, Chinelos parks in Hunter’s Point, near Gantry State Park, making for spectacular views as you chow down.
The wait: You can walk right in at most times, although Saturday nights are often crowded.
What to order: Their birria tacos (two for $17) are prepared with lamb and salsa negra. They pair well with a sea bass ceviche ($19) with chile oil and gooseberries or with a side of plantains ($9) or curtidos (cabbage salsa, $7).
Why it’s a standout: Chef Henry Zamora, an alum of the French Laundry, offers an upscale take on the trend, with mouthwatering chile-braised lamb birria with paper-thin tortillas. Other dishes, especially seafood, on the short menu also impress.
Tuesday-Wednesday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday-Friday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. 37 W. 19th St.; 212-991-8222, TacosGueyNYC.com
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The wait: The line may occasionally go out the door of this small spot, but it typically takes no longer than 15 minutes to get to the front.
What to order: Their beef birria tacos ($4, or $5 with cheese) are great with consommé ($4 small/$6 large), or go for their chicken mulitas ($5) with a side of esquites (street corn, $4 small/$6 large). Plus, you can even opt for birria on French fries, aka Loaded Papas ($8).
Why it’s a standout: Iqbal “Iggy” Ahmed, Emon Ullah and Raymundo Garcia are the creators of one of the first birrierias to serve halal meat. And did we mention the birria French fries?
Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. 127 Rivington St.; 646-707-3883, BirriaLES.com