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What is birria? It’s a Mexican stew, but so much more than that.

Best Concepts: Birria station pops up and dazzles at SUNY Broome

American Dining Creations’ Birria Pop-up at SUNY Broome has been named winner of the 2021 FM Best Concept Award in the Best Special Event category.

Staying ahead of the trends is a naturally moving target. American Dining Creations’ overarching culinary philosophy is one that allows chefs to move quickly on emerging food trends, catching them before they float away. Develop the trend into a lasting concept that’s versatile and fun? Even better.

Birria is one such trend, appearing of late around Instagram accounts of in-the-know Mexican food fans. What is birria? It’s a Mexican stew, but so much more than that. We are seeing birria tacos, birria quesadillas and more. The hallmark of birria is a delightfully sloppy, perfectly on-trend dipping element, often served alongside the menu item or soaking through tortillas ahead of time. Think French dip sandwiches-meets enchiladas.

At SUNY Broome, ADC Executive Chef Donn Souliyadeth noticed the birria trend in the DC area, and had a conversation with ADC Marketing VP Nick Salvagni to dream up a way to introduce birria that celebrated its of-the-moment appeal. They accomplished this through research, development, taste tests and a marketing plan.

In the kitchen, Souliyadeth created three ways to try the trend: a birria beef taco: stewed Mexican beef stuffed into a broth-dipped corn tortilla with cheese and served with more broth for dipping; a braised chicken birria taco: slow-cooked chicken stew in a corn tortilla with cheese and herbs plus consommé for dipping; and the vegetarian birria taco: crumbled, seasoned tofu in a corn tortilla with smoky tomato consommé for dipping.

The introductory pop-up event for birria had droves of students lined up as if for an exciting movie premier—starring delicious Mexican food, that is. The event was such a smash thanks to a combination of culinary know-how, marketing savvy and knowing when to quickly jump on a trend before it passes you by.

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