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Mexican eatery Las Koritas will reopen next week

What began as a pandemic project has become an up-and-coming small business for Las Koritas owner Cass Hernandez.

Hernandez, who works alongside his mother, sister and girlfriend, began selling authentic Mexican meals out of his home in 2020.

“We started with COVID because my mom got laid off from her job. And we kind of just needed to figure out how to pay her bills,” Hernandez said. “Then it just kind of blew up.”

Hernandez and his family began making birria tacos, a traditional Mexican meal made up of tender, shredded meat and a chili-based broth. The tacos became a trend on TikTok during the height of the pandemic, leaving people with free time to try cooking them.

“(The birria) is what you would eat at Christmas, weddings, quinceañeras,” Hernandez said. “Then it kind of got viral on TikTok whenever we were all in quarantine, and then my mom started making it for us again ... and then our friends started asking to buy some. It all just trickled down.”

As the family’s cooking gained traction, Hernandez decided in May 2021 to close shop until he obtained his business license. After licensure, Hernandez took financial literacy classes, including a course on opening a small business, through Central Bank’s free ProsperU courses.

Preparing to reopen, Las Koritas utilizes the CoMo Cooks commissary kitchen, located on 500 E Walnut Street, Suite 109. CoMo Cooks is a commercial kitchen that allows small businesses to reserve their space and equipment.

Las Koritas also puts a twist on the traditional birria meal with their birria ramen. Instead of water, the noodles are boiled in the birria broth to add flavor and spice.

The popular birria tacos and ramen will be available for curbside pickup at CoMo Cooks, rather than Hernandez’s home.

Set to reopen Sunday, Sept. 25, Hernandez is already accepting advance orders through Las Korita’s Facebook page and Instagram.

Sigi Ris is a student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
The Columbia Missourian is a community news organization managed by professional editors and staffed by Missouri School of Journalism students who do the reporting, design, copy editing, information graphics, photography and multimedia.