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Birrias Tamazula brings authentic Mexican recipes, flavors to downtown Gresham

PMG PHOTO: ANGEL ROSAS  - Raquel and Antonio Herrera opened Birrias Tamazula in early April. Antonio and Raquel Herrera made their dream come true when they opened their restaurant Birrias Tamazula in early April.

The dream to open a restaurant was passed down to Antonio from his mother who came to the United States from Mexico with hundreds of traditional recipes.

"It was really my mother's dream, Donna Lida." Antonio said. "She was always cooking, really loved it and always wanted to open up a restaurant of her own. She passed away awhile back, but we kept her recipes, and we followed through with her dream."

The restaurant didn't happen overnight. Before the two opened their location at 184 N.E. Second St., Raquel worked in restaurants and Antonio was in the automotive industry for years before they committed to their brick-and-mortar shop.

"We have been making birrias for about 15 years before we decided to open up the business," Antonio said. "We were just cooking at home during all of the family functions, parties and weddings."

Raquel also would give out food to friends and family.

What makes the food unique is the way they prepare their birrias, a traditional stew or soup that slow-cooks goat in a chili sauce. "We try to cook our birrias in the most authentic way we can, outside of cooking the meat in a firepit," Antonio said. "We have a very traditional recipe. The style that we cook is also more northern Mexican cuisine versus southern Mexico, which is less well-known over here."

The Herreras also will introduce the community to a more southern Mexican version of menudo. Menudo is another Mexican soup that is made of cow stomach that is usually cooked in a broth with red chili pepper base. However, the southern Mexican version is made with a clear broth and is almost always served with hominy.

Although not only serving their version of many iconic Mexican dishes like fish tacos and birrias, Antonio and Raquel also enjoy making things from scratch including fresh tortillas.

At the moment, Antonio and Raquel admit that the menu is slim, but have plans to add to it and experiment with more unique Mexican cuisines that folks might not be as accustomed to.

"We are just trying to bring our flavors and our traditions to the people of Gresham," Antonio said. "It is a lot different from what people are used to, and we really hope people give it a chance."

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