Craving authentic Mexican fare?

No need to go south!
Handmade tortillas, quesabirria, horchata, al pastor, carne asada are just a few of the authentic items available at Tia Juana in Celebration Village North. Photo by Bryan Esler.

When it comes to south-of-the-border style culinary adventures in Grand Rapids, there’s a place on the north side that’s causing quite a stir: Tia Juana, located at 2289 E Beltline Ave. NE.

Nestled in a strip mall at the north end of Celebration Village, this unassuming Mexican eatery is turning up the heat with its traditional cuisine, infectious enthusiasm, and a knack for making the taste buds tango.

Tia Juana may be tucked away, but it’s no well-kept secret. When it opened in 2021, word that authentic Mexican fare had finally reached a northeast suburban strip mall spread quickly among the locals. Its bright blue exterior with cheery yellow accents beacons you inside to an interior that’s artfully designed. And the walls are adorned with eye-popping artwork. This all sets the stage for a dining adventure you won’t soon forget.

What’s cooking at Tia Juana? A menu that’s more stacked than a plate of nachos. From beloved classics to more exotic and daring authentic creations…if you’ve got a craving, Tia Juana has the cure. The quesabirria was definitely a favorite:  Tijuana-style beef birria tacos, served on fried homemade corn tortillas, filled with cheese paired with birria soup, which is like a consommé in which you dip them. Think of it as a Mexican French dip, but instead of a sandwich you’re dipping, it’s tacos. Yum!

Now, let’s talk salsa. For the cautious, there’s the salsa verde— a flavorful explosion without the fiery aftermath. If you’re feeling adventurous, dive into the light green salsa; it’s a spicy rollercoaster that might just bring a tear to your eye. And those complimentary chips? They come with a homestyle salsa that strikes the perfect balance between cilantro, salt, and tomato. You can tell the chefs here have poured their heart and soul into these little pots of magic.

In a nutshell, Tia Juana isn’t just a restaurant; it’s a culinary adventure, and a must-try for Mexican food lovers, or anyone up for a tasty thrill ride. 

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