On Sunday mornings during my childhood in San Antonio, family brunch in the Ramirez household included barbacoa with fresh corn tortillas, a side dish of diced onions, and a variety of fixings. I'd sprinkle my barbacoa with just a little extra salt. As a child, my palate wasn't much into heat, but I'd watch my aunts and uncles pile on colorful chiles and salsas as well.
It's a memory that I’ve since considered as isolated to that time, the taste of that specific taco elevated in my thoughts to a place I can never revisit. However, a little piece of me travels back in time when I bite into a birria filled taco from Birrieria Diaz. I no longer add any salt, but I do add a lot of arbol peppers!
Birria is a traditional Mexican dish made by stewing beef, lamb, and other delicious meats. It originated from the state of Jalisco but is consumed all over Mexico. Often, birria is served as the recovery brunch after an evening of celebrating.
Birrieria Diaz serves their birria family-style in small, medium, and large options, depending on the size of your group. The spicy stewed meats are served with roasted arbol peppers, diced onions, radishes, cilantro, limes, and a spicy sauce simply made from crushed arbol peppers and oil. Wrap all that up in either a soft or fried corn tortilla and it becomes a dish that warms not only my belly but also my heart.
This gift of this deliciousness was brought here by the Diaz family with their roots in Aguascalientes, bordered by the state of Jalisco in Mexico. The Diazes lived in Pomona, California before moving to OKC.
Out of their California garage, Juan Diaz, now cook and owner of Birrieria Diaz, would make extra money on weekends serving birria to friends and neighbors, dreaming of someday having his own brick and mortar location to serve his family’s beloved Mexican dishes.
That dream seemed distant in California but after visiting his wife's family in Oklahoma a few times, Juan and his wife, Socorro, realized they could make that dream a reality here. Juan Diaz opened Birrieria Diaz on Bethany’s main street in 2011.
His daughter Liliana Diaz, known as Lily, runs front of the house while Juan Diaz manages the kitchen. Juan insists on cooking everything himself in order to completely control consistency and quality for his customers. This commitment to perfection is evident in every facet of the restaurant, especially the food.
At Birrieria Diaz, the Diaz family serves up their juicy birria alongside other traditional home-style Mexican foods. Featured dishes are items such as Tacos Dorados, crispy taquitos filled with mashed potatoes and topped with a cabbage slaw, a little spicy sauce, and pickled pork skins. Another crowd pleaser is Tacos Rancheros, tacos filled with steak, peppers, onions, and plenty of melted cheese. They also serve a traditional enchilada, made with queso fresco and topped with a delicious green poblano or red chile sauce, a filling dish served with rice and beans.
I’ve traversed the city and most of the state of Oklahoma in search of Mexican dishes that truly compare to the food I enjoyed with my family growing up. I have a few favorites, but I was not expecting to find another little piece of my childhood home on the corner of NW 39th Expressway and College Avenue in Bethany. I can’t wait to share my find with family and friends. With a wide and varied menu of tempting options, many return trips will be required for us to sample it all!
> Birrieria Diaz, 6700 NW 39th Expressway, Bethany