In the span of about six months, quesabirria — those cheesy, red-tinted beef birria tacos first popularized in Tijuana — have gone from a little-known regional specialty only touted by taco lovers hip to the Los Angeles street food scene to a full-blown phenomenon. These days, taquerias and taco trucks all over the Bay that never used to serve birria, and were previously known for items that had nothing to do with Tijuana, have jumped on the bandwagon and added the slow-braised beef tacos to their menus.
The latest company thirsting for some of that sweet, sweet quesabirria business? The Mission District-based pizza delivery startup Firepie, which two weeks ago launched its own take on the trend — the “pizzabirria,” a wood-fired pizza topped with birria from near Tacos El Patrón, current Eater heatmap honoree and probably the most celebrated of the quesabirria joints in the city proper. Listed on the menu as a $15.90 limited-edition item — available at least through the end of March, Firepie founder Rick Richman says — the pizza comes topped with onions, cilantro, and, of course, the birria itself.
Operated out of a trailer on the edge of the Mission, Firepie has been around since 2016, and is best known for speedy deliveries of its tight menu of loosely Neapolitan-style pies via its own delivery app. Apart from the new pizza, the company doesn’t appear to have any particular connection to Mexican cuisine, but the idea of putting birria, or other Mexican-inspired toppings, on a pizza isn’t anything inherently new. Here in California, even local chain restaurants might top a pizza with potatoes and Mexican chorizo, and Mexico City proper is currently experiencing a new wave of restaurants dealing in fusion-y “pizza exótica” topped with things like chiles rellenos or huitlacoche (corn fungus), or even toasted grasshoppers, as the LA Times recently reported. In the Bay Area, the folks behind Richmond’s El Garage have talked about putting an al pastor pizza on the menu.
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Inspired by the different up and coming food trends in our neighborhood and as a way to thank our customers, Firepie partners with Tacos El Patron to offer a wood-fired Pizzabirria. Marinated tender beef slow cooked and topped with fresh cilantro and onions for an amazing combination of flavors. STARTING Monday, February 10 you can purchase the Pizzabirria Patron for walk up customers and through the app delivery. DON’T MISS OUT
For San Francisco’s Firepie, it’s Tacos El Patrón’s participation, of course, that might give its take on a taco pizza credibility among local birria connoisseurs. Among other plaudits, the taqueria was listed by SF Chronicle critic Soleil Ho as one of the best new restaurants of 2019, with the quesabirria in particular drawing praise for its “well-crisped tortillas, gooey white cheese, and generous chunks of shredded beef.”
Will quesabirria-inspired pizza enter the pantheon of hybridized dishes embraced by the local taco-loving community? Firepie’s Richman, for his part, says the pies have nearly sold out on a couple of occasions and that — if Tacos El Patrón is open to it — he might consider adding it as a permanent menu item.