Jan 25, 2022 - Food and Drink

Nina's Tacos cooks up unique birria dishes in Des Moines

A plate of quesa tacos from Nina's Tacos in Des Moines.

Jason's plate of quesa tacos. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

Nina's Tacos opened late last year and its atypical menu — along with the story behind the restaurant — make it worthy of a visit.

State of play: A year ago, Nina Tejeda, a single mom of four children, was working three jobs, she told Axios.

  • Her homemade tacos were popular among friends, who last year convinced her to buy a food truck and launch a business.
  • She made enough money from a few festivals to quit her other jobs and open her new, permanent spot.

State of plate: Nina's offers more than two dozen menu items, ranging from a Mexican-style pizza to ramen with birria.

  • Birria — a meat stew that's cooked with chiles and other seasonings for hours — is the star ingredient of many of Tejeda's dishes.
  • I tried three quesa tacos, which included birria in a toasted, double shell taco with cheese. ($3.64 each) Yum.

Of note: Nina's has sold out of its staple item a few times in the last month due to the restaurant's growing popularity and the lengthy time birria takes to make.

  • If that happens, just be patient and consider an alternative menu item to tide you over until the next batch is ready.

Open: Tuesday-Saturday from noon to 8pm; Sunday, 11am-6pm.

  • 1301 E. Watrous Ave., Des Moines.

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