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An overhead photo of birria del res with the accompanying broth, two tacos, two margaritas, and a single cochinita pibil at Papi Chulo’s
An assortment of dishes and drinks from Papi Chulo’s
Molly J. Smith/EPDX

A New Portland Mexican Restaurant Brings Birria to the Pearl District

Papi Chulo’s opens today on NW 13th with margaritas, cochinita pibil, and burrito bowls

Cochinita pibil was created in the Yucatan. Cooks take pork, cover it in achiote paste and orange juice, wrap it in banana leaves, and slow-cook it in a stone pit for hours. Antonio Javier Palma Caceres, the chef behind the soon-to-open Papi Chulo’s, grew up in the Yucatan; he doesn’t have a pit for his cochinita pibil, but he made sure it had its place on the menu — juicy, slow-cooked pork, wrapped in a corn tortilla, topped with pickled onions.

His restaurant finally opens today, a Pearl District taqueria with design elements reminiscent of Californian and Mexican taquerias — his partner, Davide Bricca, lived in Los Angeles as a teenager. True to central Mexican design, the walls are covered in painted invitations into the space. Papi Chulo’s name appears painted on the hood of the open-format kitchen; on the other side of the pass, a painting of a large Corona bottle with a lime stuck in its neck appears on the white walls of the taqueria. A mounted Marlin stares over the ordering counter, where customers can order tacos, burritos, and cocktails.

In the kitchen, Caceres primarily sticks to tacos. He starts with Three Sisters masa, hand-made into tortillas, which he then fills with an assortment of proteins: Sautéed cod with chile de arbol, slow-cooked beef with guajillo chile salsa, slow-cooked lengua with habanero. A favorite among the staff is the restaurant’s birria, which the restaurant makes with beef as opposed to goat, served in dorados with the side of customary broth.

Bricca handles the cocktails, which he batches but still with attention to detail: He makes his pepper margarita with a house-made syrup, using five different peppers including poblanos and habaneros. His strawberry lime margarita, the princesa, uses a house strawberry syrup and fresh lime juice. Beyond the margaritas, the restaurant also serves a paloma, michelada, and bloody mary; the last two come with a rim of tajin. Explore the rest of the menu and the space below:

A garage door at Papi Chulo’s can open into the main dining space, which sits next to a wall mural of a Corona bottle with the words “Hola Papi, adios thirsty.”
The wall near the main seating area at Papi Chulo’s
Molly J. Smith/EPDX
The main kitchen area of Papi Chulo’s is open format, similar to many taquerias in Mexico and California. The hood is covered by a white structure with red-and-yellow writing that reads “Papi Chulo’s”
The kitchen area of Papi Chulo’s
Molly J. Smith/EPDX
A picture of a cook at Papi Chulo’s placing five yellow corn tortillas on the griddle
Tortillas made with Three Sisters masa hit the griddle at Papi Chulo’s
Molly J. Smith/EPDX
Two margaritas sit on the outdoor bar of Papi Chulo’s, lined with turquoise tile. The margaritas are batched and come in strawberry-lime, traditional lime, and pepper
Two margaritas at Papi Chulo’s
Molly J. Smith/EPDX
Birria at Papi Chulo’s comes with two dorados tacos filled with meat, as well as a side bowl of stock with onions and cilantro
Birria at Papi Chulo’s
Molly J. Smith/EPDX
A chicken and a shrimp taco at Papi Chulo’s, which arrive on handmade yellow corn tortillas in a basket lined with yellow paper
Tacos at Papi Chulo’s
Molly J. Smith/EPDX
A burrito bowl at Papi Chulo’s sits at the restaurant’s outdoor bar, filled with barbacoa, pico de gallo, rice and black beans, plus a side container of salsa
A burrito bowl at Papi Chulo’s
Molly J. Smith/EPDX

Papi Chulo’s [Official]
Previous coverage of Papi Chulo’s [EPDX]

Papi Chulo's

611 Northwest 13th Avenue, , OR 97209 (503) 206-6085 Visit Website
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