Auckland loves a pop-up success story. It’s a great way to build a following – something Sean Yarbrough can attest to, having amassed a fanbase of over 200,000 across Instagram, Tiktok and Facebook for his Broke Boy Taco pop-up.

He's now put down roots, with his first bricks-and-mortar shop on New North Road in Mount Albert.

Born and raised in Kentucky, Yarborough lived for over a decade in San Francisco’s Mission District – home to some of the city’s best tacos. He cooked at several restaurants in the area before moving to Aotearoa in 2021 with his Kiwi fiancée. Missing the taquerias he frequented, Yarbrough created the Broke Boy Taco pop-up – and while he started off doing a variety of fillings, things took off when he decided to focus just on birria tacos.

Birria is traditionally a spicy, slow-cooked Mexican beef stew. Yarbrough makes his with dried guajillo chillies and hot chiles de arbol, which he soaks overnight in water and vinegar before blending into a paste and adding various spices, herbs and seasonings. He then adds steak – using 35 kilograms of meat per pot – and cooks it for eight hours.

When that’s done, he separates the beef to stuff in the tacos, and saves the hearty consommé for dipping each taco in.

At the shop, you can order three or four tacos with consommé and add-ons including cheese, avocado and sour cream.

If you don’t eat meat Broke Boy Taco might not be for you, given there are no other taco options – but there is a cheese quesadilla which you can order with avocado and orange sauce (made with dried peppers and oil). There's also a birria quesadilla, plus chips and guac – but birria tacos are the star. Long-time followers will have seen the Broke Boy-branded birria ramen pots – and these are also available to order as an “if you know you know” off-menu special.

As for the restaurant, it’s an orange-fronted 18-seater that Yarbrough has left purposefully plain – an ode to the 'mom and pop' taquerias of Tijuana. Drinks-wise, there’s a fridge of sodas on offer to quench your taco-induced thirst.

Contact Details

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Updated: October 31st, 2023

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