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Heirloom recipe is a trendy hit at No Manches Way

By Valerie Phillips - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Nov 20, 2021

Valerie Phillips, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Maria and Israel Chavez with some of their birria creations at No Manches Way in Ogden.

Israel and Maria Chavez had no restaurant experience when they opened No Manches Way at 1516 Washington Blvd. in April.

But what they did have was a birria recipe passed down from Maria's great-grandmother. In Mexico, birria is a traditional soup or stew made with slow-simmered meat such as goat, lamb or beef.

Currently across America, birria has become a foodie trend, mainly with beef instead of goat. The beef is simmered, or braised, in broth until it's shred-tender, then made into a taco or quesadilla. The braising liquid is used as a dipping broth for the tacos, similar to the way French dip sandwiches are dipped in au jus.

Authenticity is what sets No Manches Way apart from other restaurants, said Maria Chavez. "Also, three things: quality, flavor and quantity."

Her family is originally from Sinaloa, Mexico, "And they make birria there," she said. "My great-grandmother had a restaurant there and passed the recipe down, and my mom taught me how to make the birria."

Valerie Phillips, Special to the Standard-Examiner

QuesaBirrias — tortillas filled with braised shredded beef and mozzarella, served with a dipping broth — at No Manches Way in Ogden.

When Maria lost her job due to COVID, she started a home business selling birria to her family and friends. The business grew to the point that a restaurant location was needed.

"We drove all over looking for a spot to rent," Israel Chavez said. "We had to find the right place and the right people so my wife could start her dream."

Seeing the empty office space for rent on Washington Boulevard, they contacted the owner, Mike Bachman of Mike Bachman Plumbing.

"We weren't able to get a loan, but Mike and his wife, Debbie, trusted in us and helped us. We started from scratch, with Mike's help. He opened doors for us," Israel Chavez said.

They transformed the space into a fully equipped kitchen and a dining area with a colorful wall mural.

Valerie Phillips, Special to the Standard-Examiner

PizzaBirria is cut into wedges and served with dipping broth at No Manches Way in Ogden.

Then they came up with their name, No Manches Way. Maria Chavez said that, in Spanish, it roughly translates to "No way, dude!" But it can be used as a slang term in a number of ways, depending on the mood.

"My brother and his friends would always say it," she added.

The format is fast-casual; ordering and payment is done at the front counter.

The small menu is all about birria, with several different versions.

"It's really just shredded beef, but Mexican style," Israel Chavez said. "But Maria is the only one who knows what goes into it to give it the flavor."

Valerie Phillips, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Street tacos at No Manches Way in Ogden.

QuesaBirrias are the top seller. These are tortillas filled with the braised shredded beef and mozzarella cheese, cooked on a flat-top grill until the tortilla is glistening and crisp and the cheese is melty. They come with a cup of birria dipping broth, plus chopped onions and cilantro, green salsa, hot sauce and lime that customers can add to their liking. (A tip: Go easy on the red hot sauce unless you love mouth-searing heat.)

Three large QuesaBirrias are $13.50, and many customers post on restaurant review websites that they're usually only able to finish two and take one home for later.

The tortillas are handmade -- "We have a lady that hand-makes our tortillas all day long," Israel Chavez said.

You can also get birria in the form of burritos, street tacos and french fries.

There's also birria served in a brothy soup, which is how it's served in Mexico, Maria Chavez said.

Valerie Phillips, Special to the Standard-Examiner

RamenBirria is a cross-culture mashup of ramen noodles in birria broth with shredded beef.

Then there are some cross-culture mashups -- PizzaBiria and RamenBirria.

With the 14-inch PizzaBirria, cheese and birria-style shredded beef are sandwiched between two layers of tortillas. To eat, you cut it into pizza-style wedges and dip it into birria broth.

RamenBirria is a bowl of ramen noodles and shredded beef in birria broth.

Rounding out the menu is menudo, the Mexican specialty of beef tripe.

The restaurant hosts a Spicy Quesabirria Challenge. The quesabirrias and broth are doctored with scorching-hot sauce, and the challenger has five minutes to finish the plate of three QuesaBirrias and half of the broth. Recordings of customers testing their heat limits are posted on the No Manches Way Facebook page. So far, only two customers have managed to do it, and their photos are hung on the restaurant wall -- a Hall of Flame, you could say.

During the first two months of the restaurant's opening, the couple relied on extended family members to help out in the kitchen. Now, they have nine employees, Maria Chavez said.

Besides parking along Washington Boulevard, there are several stalls in the back (make the narrow turn into the alley on the south side of the restaurant).

No Manches Way gets a lot of repeat customers, Israel Chavez said. "We will see the same people coming in here three or four times a week."

If you go


Location: 1516-C Washington Blvd.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; and 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday

Contact: nomanchesway.net; 801-600-1949

Prices: $1.75 per street taco to $25 for a 14-inch PizzaBirria


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