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Garcia’s Mexican Kitchen

October 24, 2022

  • 10445 Shaver Road
  • Portage, MI 49024
  • (269) 743-7326
  • Website
  • Menu

It’s not very often I come across a restaurant I didn’t know existed in the Kalamazoo Metro area.  I get around town a lot so I see the signs for new places pop up all the time.

I was in Portage last week just kind of driving aimlessly.  I headed south down Shaver Road because I realized I haven’t been to Barret’s Smokehouse in quite a while.  I stopped at the gas station across the street to grab a Pepsi and looked at my maps just to make sure I wasn’t missing something.  

Turns out, I was missing something.  

Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant is on the very south end of Portage on Shaver Road at the intersection with Osterhout Avenue.  This small restaurant was a breakfast/lunch joint called Red’s Grill.  J and I ate there way back in 2010 after I saw a “best burgers” list in the Kalamazoo Shopper.  That restaurant closed a few years ago and last December, the building became a Mexican restaurant.  

My plan was just to call in an order for four tacos and some fries…but I saw birria tacos on the menu….and I never pass up a birria.

I called in my order from the gas station for the birria taco plate which includes four tacos and added on an order of French fries and a cup of queso. They told me it would be about 15 minutes so I just sat in the parking lot and played some Candy Crush while I waited.

I walked in right at the 15 minutes. There’s a small room right inside the door with a cash register and a few seats to sit and wait. The dining room is actually behind this room and completely separated. The lone server asked if I had the take out order then asked if I could wait just a second while she got the bill to one of her tables in the dining room.

The cost for my meal was about $17 before tip.

I opened the fries as soon as I got back to the car and planned on eating them on the drive back to the office. I just gotta say, I love Mexican restaurants that do French fries. I don’t like rice and beans so it’s nice having an option.

The fries were simple. They were just frozen restaurant fries. I expected no less. That’s what I ordered the cheese.

The cheese was in a small cup. It is a white cheese with a little bit of peppery to it. It was perfect for fry dipping. I made a little bit of a mess because the cheese was having a hard time sticking to the floppy fries so I should have waited until I got some place I could eat but it was hard to put them down. It wasn’t fancy but it was a really good combination and way to get some liquid cheese in to my diet.

I couldn’t wait to get back to the office to get in to the birria tacos. I’ve kind of become a birria taco snob. I love the tacos from Teresa’s Kitchen and expect that the tortillas will always be fried. It seems like more places don’t fry the tortillas than do. Garcia’s Mexican Kitchen definitely fried them.

The Birria Taco plate comes with four tacos and a side of Mexican broth. The four tacos are all stuffed with the birria, cilantro and onion. The tacos are then fried in the broth and holy crap is it delicious.

The tacos are crispy yet soft and dipping them in to the broth softens them back up a little while adding a ton of flavor but there’s still a little crispiness to them. These are insanely good birria tacos. My mouth has watered every time I’ve told someone about them.

I never knew Garcia’s Mexican Kitchen existed before I accidently found it while getting myself a Pepsi and now I’m scheming my next trip. It’s so far south in Portage that it’s really out of the way for me to drive down there but those tacos were soooooo good. It’s worth a little bit of a detour.

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