Sixteen months ago, the Silva Gonzalez family bet their everything at a Denver food truck.
Instead of investing in a house, he decided to start a business selling a rare treat native to Colorado — birria (pronounced BEER-ee-yuh), rich Mexican stewed beef. They serve it in tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tortas, and even ramen bowls.
By the spring of 2021, word had spread, and KEEK (pronounced KEE-kays) Red Tacos had become a formidable player on the local food truck scene. This week, the newcomer officially beat out 31 other local taco shops to become the winner of Denver’s 2022 March Madness bracket. Kiké won its final round against veteran local pro Tacos Selene, with 71% of your votes.
Connected: Denver’s Best Tacos: Announcing the Winner of Our 2022 March Madness Taco Bracket
“It’s nothing as expected to be completely honest,” Cesar Silva Gonzalez said before the final last week. He grew up in Denver at some of the famous Mexican restaurants that his family’s own startup competed for the title of best Denver tacos.
22-year-old Silva Gonzalez helped her parents Enrique Silva Figueroa and Olivia Gonzalez launch Kike’s Red Tacos in late 2020. He called it Kaik, the common nickname for Enrique, which has been passed down in the family for generations. When he decided to open a business, he did so instead of buying a family home.
“As long as we live here (in Colorado), we’ve always rented (a house),” Silva Gonzalez said. “The goal was to buy a house with the money we had saved up at the time… but my dad and I wanted to start this business.”
It was also an idea for the 22-year-old’s parents to focus their menu on biriya, a dish that he and his three younger brothers enjoyed at home as a child.
Silva Gonzalez said, “The reason I gravitated to birria is it’s one of the best recipes my mom and dad made when I was growing up.” “I wanted to be the best at whatever we decided to do.”
At that time, the traditional homemade stew was beginning to take hold in restaurants and food trucks in the United States. Silva Gonzalez even told her parents about the tacos she was seen trending on social media.
“When we first started, there was no place I knew to do (here),” he said. “And I think a lot of people shy away from having biria just because of the process.”
While Silva Gonzalez said her parents are “super protective of her recipe,” she explained that it takes eight hours to cook at various heats, with about a dozen different spices adding flavor. Growing up, he used to eat stew with simple sides of rice and beans. But the food truck takes Birria’s slow-cooked domesticity to new, obsessed, street-food heights.
Take quesatacos, which begin by dipping corn tortillas in burrito dishes, or broth, before stuffing them just to add a crunch (and a bit of reddening); Then fortify the rich stewed meat with a generous layer of melted cheese; And chop all this with onion, cilantro and lemon juice.
Silva Gonzalez said of his parents, “The dishes are all theirs.”
A native of Jalisco, Mexico, and 25-year-old restaurant and hotel manager, Silva Figueroa manages the grill each day, while Olivia Gonzalez is behind the preparation work. Silva Gonzalez can be found taking orders and running the truck’s website and social media accounts.
It has become a full-time job, and the family is outgrowing their current truck kitchen.
“We really want to get into a restaurant location as soon as possible,” said Silva Gonzalez, explaining how they often sell from birria on the truck.
All this success means more growth in the near future and another big family decision ahead: “Now the plan has kind of changed,” said Silva Gonzalez, “from buying a house to opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant.” As far as.”
if you go: Kike’s Red Tacos are open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. or sold out Tuesday-Sunday (closed Mondays) at 5256 N. Federal Blvd., in the parking lot behind Area Jane Condos. Plan on waiting about 30 minutes for your meal on busy days, and try to order in advance if the online store is open. kikesredtacos.com
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