Viral foods don’t always taste as good as they look. (Remember Cheetos ice cream?) In the case of birria tacos, watching these beefy, cheesy tortillas plunge into a steaming cup of consommé is just as much a feast for the eyes as it is the palate. While social media may have been the fuel to ignite this street food’s success across the country, don’t give the Internet all the credit. The birria taco trend originated in Jalisco, Mexico and first found major fame in California before blowing up at the tail end of 2020. Now that it’s made its way to the Garden State, I’ve scouted countless variations from nachos and burritos to ramen and even pizza. If you’re wondering where to get birria tacos in New Jersey, start by hitting up these 15 places.
1. El Jardin Restaurante – Passaic, NJ
The Digest has written about ravioli in ramen brodo but what about shredded beef in birria broth? That’s what you’ll find at El Jardin in Passaic. Alongside bowls of piping hot noodles, they’ve got birria burritos and, of course, tacos. The varieties of which include beef, pork, chicken, cheese and shrimp.
2. Taco Loco – East Rutherford, NJ
Often referred to as the K.O.B. (King of Birria), Taco Loco won’t let you forget that they are the OGs of birria in Bergen County New Jersey. With each order, you’ll receive three of their crispy tacos loaded with gooey cheese, stewed beef, cilantro and diced onions. Per their Instagram, Taco Loco has also dabbled in birria nachos and ramen.
3. Julio’s on Main – Vineland, NJ
It’s borderline birria overload at this South Jersey restaurant. Julio’s on Main has birria tacos, empanadas, quesadillas, ramen and…pizza? For the latter, they grill a 12-inch flour tortilla that was first dipped in au jus. Then, they layer it with salsa verde, fresh cilantro, onions and avocado before topping it with their slow-roasted marinated brisket and cheese. Is this the ultimate mash-up?
4. Chofi Taco – Union City, NJ
This Union City spot managed to fly under the radar but has recently caught the eye of major outlets including ABC7 and Eater. The owners of Chofi Taco opened their brick-and-mortar restaurant in Hudson County this summer, however, you might notice their creations from their stand at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn. Today, Chofi specializes in all things birria from tacos to bowls and pambazo—a Mexican-style sandwich.
5. Irma’s Cafe – Jersey City, NJ
The birria tacos from Irma’s in Jersey City, New Jersey aren’t the only reason I named the cafe one of the best restaurants in the Heights, but, they certainly played a large part. Irma’s offers a birria de res (or “red taco”) in addition to quesabirria. The latter includes griddled tortillas stuffed with beef and cheese before later being folded up quesadilla style. Both options, however, are still served with broth on the side for dipping.
6. Pico Taco – Hoboken, NJ
This Hoboken restaurant hasn’t made a wrong move in my eyes, including adding birria de res tacos to their menu. At Pico Taco, they’re using their housemade tortillas as the base before filling them with shredded, slow-cooked beef and melty cheese.
7. Jalapeños Mexican Grill – Wayne, NJ
Jalapeños Mexican Grill opened its doors in Wayne, NJ in September and the addition of their birria tacos came shortly after. Picture double-stacked tortillas frying up on the grill in their own fat. Then, they’re sprinkled with melty cheese and filled with shredded beef before being finished with a garnish of cilantro and onions. You can get them by the family or catering size, which I highly recommend.
8. Paellas Cafe – Harrison, NJ
Specializing in both Spanish and Mexican cuisine, Paellas Cafe is also home to traditional, Tijuana-style birria tacos. Although relatively new to the restaurant’s menu, these owners are said to have been making birria tacos for the past 25 years, mostly as a special occasion dish around the holidays. Paellas offers two variations—birria de res and quesabirria.
9. Torta Truck – Union City and Jersey City, NJ
If you’re having a spur-of-the-moment craving, you’ll have to check Torta Truck’s Instagram stories to find out where you can score their birria tacos that day. This Hudson County food truck sports the title of the first birria “vendor” in New Jersey. While their signature item is tacos, they’ve ventured into the worlds of ramen and even vegan birria. A brick-and-mortar location is also said to be in the works.
10. Carlitos Barbecue Taqueria – Paramus and Lyndhurst, NJ
Birria tacos weren’t always on the menu at this New Jersey eatery and food truck. Carlitos introduced birria to their winter menu in December 2020—a tasty combo of beef shank, brisket and chuck round. Each taco comes with two ounces of meat that’s been marinated and braised in adobo, served with a side of sweet, sour and spicy consommé.
11. Taqueria Sabor Mixteca – Jersey City, NJ
Located on Communipaw Ave in Jersey City’s Bergen-Lafayette district, you can find birria tacos every Friday and Saturday at Taqueria Sabor Mixteca. (Hello, weekend plans.) From what I gathered on their IG page, they top their tacos with a handful of cilantro and diced onions after the tortillas have been griddled and filled with shredded meat.
12. La Santa Birria – Woodland Park, NJ
What’s in a name, am I right? At La Santa Birria, you can get your hands their birria tacos every Friday by preordering via Instagram DM. (Available for contactless pick-up or delivery only.) Here, they’re giving both chicken and beef the birria treatment. In addition to tacos, they’re also serving up birria tostadas and ramen.
13. Mi Pequeño Mexico – Newark, NJ
If you live around Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood, consider Mi Pequeño Mexico your go-to. This restaurant offers local pickup and delivery of their beefy, cheesy birria tacos. With every order, you’ll receive a consommé for dipping along with a side of cilantro, onions and salsa verde.
14. La Coqueta – Jersey City, NJ
It’s hard to believe that this woman-owned food truck in Jersey City only came onto the NJ food scene a few months ago. However, you’ll want to be first in line for their traditional Mexican recipes and authentic birria tacos. Seriously, they are all the beefy, cheesy goodness you could ask for. You can often catch La Coqueta outside Solaris Lofts, but it’s best to keep up with them on Instagram for their location and hours.
15. Sombrero Tacoria – Totowa and Ridgewood, NJ
Sombrero Tacoria originated as a food truck but now has two locations throughout New Jersey. Like others on this list, they quickly jumped on the birria bandwagon and added a taco variety to their menu. The birria tacos at Sombrero are stuffed with beef and cheese and feature a charred, crispy exterior.
Have you checked out the birria taco scene in New Jersey yet? Let us know your favorite place in the comments below.
Main image via @sabormixteca